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Ovechkin, Russians fall to Czechs at Worlds @NHL
The Czech Republic overcame the arrival of Alex Ovechkin to beat Russia 3-2 Sunday and maintain a perfect record at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.

Jakub Voracek, Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec scored a goal each for the Czech Republic as Ovechkin couldn't help Russia avenge a 2-1 loss to the Czechs in the final of last year's tournament. Czech goalie Ondrej Pavelec made 24 saves for the win.

"It was a tough game, to the last second," Czech forward Martin Havlat said.

Voracek gave the Czechs a 1-0 lead with a backhand on a rebound 14:01 into the opening period and Jagr doubled the advantage 1:51 later for his second goal of the tournament.

Two Czech players -- forward Milan Michalek and defender Karel Rachunek -- left the game and didn't return after taking big hits from Russian forward Yevgeni Artyukhin in the second period.

"It wasn't a pretty game," Jagr said. "There were a lot of penalties and power plays."

Alexei Tereshenko pulled a goal back for Russia on a power play midway through the middle period but Tomas Plekanec converted a penalty shot to restore a two-goal lead 3:27 into the third.

Russia, which was outshot 33-26, only answered with a goal from Danis Zaripov with 4:56 remaining.

Ovechkin joined the Russian team Saturday after his Washington Capitals were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Czech have secured the top spot in Group E with one more game to play in the qualifying round and will meet the fourth team from Group F in the quarterfinals.

Also Sunday, Mikael Backlund scored 7:47 into the third period and added an empty-net goal to give Sweden a 2-0 victory against Switzerland to secure a place in the quarterfinals. The result also allowed the United States to advance.

Slovenia and Austria were relegated from the top division Sunday after losing their final relegation round matches: Slovenia dropped a 7-1 decision to Belarus, while Latvia beat Austria 4-1.

Jonathan Bernier will get the start for Canada when it faces Sweden on Monday.

James Reimer started Canada's first four games at the tournament, while Bernier made 25 saves in a 3-2 win against Norway on Saturday. Canada is 5-0 at the event and will wrap up the round robin portion on Monday.

The medal round of the tournament gets under way in Bratislava on Wednesday.

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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