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Streit leads Swiss past Kazakhstan @NHLdotcom

Defenseman Mark Streit scored twice and added an assist as Switzerland routed Kazakhstan 5-1 on Saturday in its opening game at the World Hockey Championships.

Reto Berra made 19 saves as the Swiss won their Group A match in Helsinki by beating newly promoted Kazakhstan in just the second meeting between the teams in tournament history.

"There are no easy games in this tournament, all teams can play. Fortunately, we got an early lead," said Streit, whose power-play goal at 11:04 of the opening period made it 2-0.

"We knew we couldn't have any turnovers in the neutral zone. We wanted to get the puck deep into their zone, cycle it there, and get them tired. That's what we did, they took a couple of penalties, and we took advantage of that," he told the IIHF's website.

Streit, the Swiss team captain, followed Ivo Ruthemann's goal at 9:48 by one-timing Roman Wick's pass into the net for the first of his team's three power-play goals.

Roman Savchenko's one-timer past Berra early in the second period made it 2-1, but Streit's blast during a 5-on-3 power play restored the Swiss team's two-goal lead. Streit then sprung teammates Dennis Hollenstein and Ruthemann on a 2-on-1 break, and Ruthemann scored his second of the game for a 4-1 lead.

"It was nice to score two goals, but we have a very big game tomorrow, and we can't feel too comfortable about ourselves. This is in the past, and we look forward to the game against Belarus," said Streit, a defenseman with the New York Islanders.

Felicien Du Bois scored at 16:53 of the middle period for a 5-1 lead. Berra faced only six shots in the final period.

Both teams play again Sunday -- Switzerland faces Belarus and Kazakhstan meets France.

Russia 5, Latvia 2

Despite the drum-pounding enthusiasm of Latvian fans at the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Russia rallied to win in Zinetula Bilyaletdinov's debut as coach as Evgeni Malkin scored twice and added an assist.

Russian captain Ilya Nikulin and Alexander Popov added a goal and an assist apiece, and Alexander Perezhogin had a pair of assists. Miks Indrasis and Kaspars Daugavins scored for Latvia, which held a 1-0 lead for more than 22 minutes but couldn’t make it stand up as Russia outshot the Latvians 40-26.

Latvia started the scoring at 11:32 of the first period when Miks Indrasis wobbled a slap shot past Semyon Varlamov from the top of the left circle.

The Russians dominated play after that but didn't get even until Nikulin's power-play goal at 13:45 of the second period, a shot that deflected off a Latvian defender and into the net.

Malkin put Russia ahead to stay at 16:29, working a give-and-go with Nikulin for another power-play goal. He made it 3-1 at 5:03 of the third, converting a rebound after Popov's shot was stopped by Edgars Masalskis. Popov's goal at 10:53 expanded the lead to 4-1.

The Latvians got some life with 4:39 left when Daugavins beat Varlamov during a power play. But Evgeni Kuznetsov beat Masalskis with a high wrist shot just 92 seconds later to seal the win.

Both teams play their second game on Sunday -- Russia faces Norway while Latvia plays Belarus.

Sweden 4, Czech Republic 1

Sweden delighted a festive crowd at the Globe Arena in Stockholm by outplaying the Czechs for its second win in as many nights.

Playing in front of a crowd that included former Toronto star Mats Sundin and tennis great Bjorn Borg, Sweden got on the board at 2:42 into the first period when Johan Franzen scored his first of the tournament. Franzen outmuscled Miroslav Blatak in front of the net to put a rebound past Jakub Stepanek.

Niklas Kronwall made it 2-0 just 50 seconds into the second period when his sharp-angled shot somehow found its way through Stepanek's pads on his stick side and went into the net. Henrik Zetterberg and Loui Eriksson both earned their second assist.

The Czechs cut the lead to 2-1 at 3:44 of the third period when Jakub Petruzalek scored off a bad giveaway by goaltender Viktor Fasth. But Joel Lundqvist tipped a Niklas Persson shot into the net to make it 3-1 at 10:24, and Persson added an empty-netter with 1:56 remaining.

Both teams have Sunday off before returning to the ice on Monday -- Sweden plays Denmark and the Czech Republic faces Norway.

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