Viktor Tikhonov scored twice in the first period to help Russia beat Latvia 4-1 on Saturday to remain unbeaten in Group B preliminary-round play at the World Hockey Championship at Minsk Arena in Belarus.
After Miks Indrasis put Latvia (3-2, 9 points) in front by scoring 7:30 into the game, Tikhonov scored twice and set up a goal by Sergei Shirokov to give Russia a 3-1 lead after one period. Tikhonov, a first-round pick by the Phoenix Coyotes in 2008, has six goals and 12 points during a four-game point streak in the tournament.
"First and foremost, this is a team game and one player can't do anything by himself," Tikhonov told the IIHF website. "It all depends on your partners and the most important thing is that we won."
Sergei Kalinin scored in the second period and Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) made 14 saves for Russia (5-0, 15 points), which will add Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins) to its roster on Sunday. The Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
"Wherever you put him, he will make the team stronger," Tikhonov said.
Russia plays Germany on Sunday; Latvia will face Belarus on Monday.
Belarus 5, Germany 2: Mikhail Grabovski (Washington Capitals) had two goals and an assist for the host team, which rallied from an early two-goal deficit to beat Germany in front of a sellout crowd at Minsk Arena.
Grabovski scored the go-ahead goal 2:55 into the third period. After Geoff Platt made it 4-2, Grabovski had his second of the game at 9:34, giving him three goals and four assists in seven games for Belarus (3-2, 9 points), which moved into a tie with Latvia for second place in Group B.
"Most of all, we feel a real responsibility playing in front of our fans," Grabovski told the IIHF website.
Germany (2-3, 5 points) led 2-0 before the game was 12 minutes old on goals by Kai Hospelt and Alexander Barta. But Andrei Stepanov made it 2-1 with a power-play goal late in the period, and Alexei Ugarov tied it early in the second.
Germany faces Group B leader Russia on Sunday; Belarus plays Latvia on Monday.
Switzerland 6, Kazakhstan 2: Yannick Weber (Vancouver Canucks) was one of six Swiss goal-scorers and Roman Josi assisted on two goals in an easy Group B victory at Minsk Arena.
Weber's second-period goal was one of four scored on the power play by Switzerland (2-4, 7 points) to support a 23-save performance by Reto Berra (Colorado Avalanche). The Swiss are off until they face Latvia on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan (0-6, 2 points) faces Finland on Monday, but is assured of finishing last in its group and will be relegated.
France 5, Norway 4 (SO): Stephane Da Costa (Ottawa Senators) scored the game-winner in the shootout for France, which overcame a 2-0 deficit to beat Norway in a Group A game at Chizhovka Arena.
Antoine Roussel (Dallas Stars) had two goals and an assist for France (3-2, 7 points). Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had a goal and a pair of assists, and Yorick Treille also scored for France.
Mathis Olimb had the game-tying goal in the third period as well as two assists, his brother Ken Andre Olimb chipped in with three assists, and Mats Trygg, Morten Ask and Daniel Sorvik had the other goals for Norway (2-3, 7 points).
France plays Denmark on Monday; Norway meets the Czech Republic on Sunday.
Denmark 4, Czech Republic 3 (SO): Denmark overcame a two-goal deficit in the third period and Mikkel Boedker (Coyotes) scored the winning goal in the shootout in a Group A game at Chizhovka Arena.
Jesper Jensen made it 3-2 with four minutes left and Patrick Bjorkstrand tied it with 53 seconds to play in regulation. After a scoreless overtime, Boedker scored in the shootout for and goaltender Simon Nielsen stopped all three attempts he faced, ending the game by denying Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey Devils), who had a goal and an assist.
Denmark (2-3, 5 points) plays France on Monday; The Czech Republic (2-3, 7 points), faces Norway on Sunday.
Slovakia 4, Italy 1: Tomas Tatar (Detroit Red Wings) had a goal and an assist for Slovakia, which outshot Italy 53-20 in a Group A game at Chizhovka Arena.
Tatar's second-period goal made it 3-0, and he assisted on a third-period power-goal goal by Michel Miklik that put the game away. Alexander Egger had the only goal for Italy (1-5, 3 points), which avoided a blowout because goaltender Daniel Bellissimo made 49 saves.
Slovakia (2-4, 7 points) is off until it plays Denmark on Tuesday. Italy plays unbeaten Sweden on Monday and must win to avoid relegation.