Damien Fleury and Antoine Roussel scored second-period goals and Florian Hardy stopped 28 shots as France recorded a 2-1 upset victory over Russia on Friday at the 2013 IIHF World Championship in a game played at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland.
The French players celebrated in jubilant fashion on the ice after the game ended. It was the country's first win in six tries against Russia at the Worlds since 1992.
"It's fantastic to beat the defending champions and the best players in the world," French coach Dave Henderson told the IIHF website. "It's so big for French hockey it's hard to describe."
Russia, which had started this year 3-0 in the preliminary round, saw its 13-game winning streak at the Worlds come to an end.
Neither side played its regular goaltender. Russia didn't dress starter Ilya Bryzgalov and gave Vasili Koshechkin the start over Semyon Varlamov. Koshechkin made 17 saves. Meanwhile, Hardy got his first start for France over Cristobal Huet.
Following a scoreless first period, the Russians got a prime opportunity when Alexander Radulov was awarded a penalty shot 6:42 into the second. Hardy stopped him, but then Alexander Perezhogin struck just 15 seconds later to open the scoring.
France came right back, with Fleury tying the score at 9:52, and then Roussel beat Koshechkin for an unassisted goal at the 16:48 mark.
France, which picked up its second win in the tournament, gets ready for another high-profile opponent when it faces the United States on Saturday.
Russia will try to rebound on Friday against host Finland.
Canada 3, Sweden 0: Steven Stamkos provided all the offense Mike Smith would need with a first-period goal and Smith stopped all 33 shots he faced as Canada blanked host Sweden at Globe Arena in Stockholm.
Luke Schenn and Jordan Staal expanded the lead in the second period, with Matt Read assisting on both goals.
"The fans were buzzing form the start and it's always kind of fun to play in that kind of atmosphere," defenseman Brenden Dillon said. "They have a passion for their country and their team, and we knew coming in it was going to be loud with the tournament being here in Sweden."
Jhonas Enroth started and made 22 saves for Sweden. Jacob Markstrom stopped both shots he faced in playing the final 9:12 of the game.
Stamkos connected on a power-play goal at 8:56 of the first, taking a cross-ice feed from Brian Campbell and rifling a shot past Enroth.
Schenn beat Enroth glove-side 55 seconds into the middle period before Staal capped the scoring at the 11-minute mark, coming out of the penalty box and finishing off a 2-on-1 play with Ryan O'Reilly.
Canada is right back on the ice on Friday against Belarus, while Sweden has off until Saturday when it takes on Slovenia.
Latvia 5, Slovakia 3: Powered by a hat trick from captain Lauris Darzins and 24 saves by Kristers Gudlevskis, Latvia gave the Hartwall Arena crowd its second unexpected result of the day by topping Slovakia.
Martins Cipulis gave Latvia the lead just 15 seconds into the game and Zemgus Girgensons also tallied.
"It feels nice to get some points in the standings," Darzins told the IIHF website. "We finally have some confidence that we're doing some stuff right. We don't have time to celebrate, because we just have to rest now and get back at it the day after tomorrow."
Tomas Surovy scored twice for Slovakia and Tomas Zaborsky continued a strong tournament with another goal, but it wasn't enough.
Zaborsky's goal 1:23 into the first answered the quick strike by Cipulis, but Latvia went back in front to stay when Darzins scored at the 13-minute mark on a penalty shot after Slovakia defenseman Branislav Mezei was whistled for covering the puck in the goal crease.
Girgensons scored a power-play goal with 2:36 left in the first and Lativa maintained a multi-goal lead for most of the remainder of the game. Surovy drew Slovakia within 3-2 with 3:51 left in the second, but Darzins struck again with 1:10 to play in the period and completed his hat trick 25 seconds into the third.
Slovakia returns to action Friday against Austria, while Latvia next draws Germany on Saturday.
Czech Republic 2, Denmark 1 (SO): Another upset was narrowly averted at Globe Arena, as Zbynek Irgl scored twice in the shootout to rescue the Czech Republic from a potential loss to Denmark.
Ondrej Pavelec and Simon Nielsen dueled to a scoreless tie through the first two periods before the Czechs opened the scoring on a slap shot 5:53 into the third.
Pavelec was flawless for nearly 56 minutes, but Denmark forced overtime when Morten Poulsen scored with 4:05 left in regulation.
In addition to Irgl, the Czechs also got a shootout goal from Jiri Hudler. Mikkel Boedker and Morten Madsen connected for Denmark.
"We probably had a little more pressure on us today, but you can see teams are really even now," Czech defenseman Zdenek Kutlak told the IIHF website. "Every team can skate and play a system. Back in the day, you could beat someone 8-0 or 10-0, but not anymore."
Pavelec finished with 18 saves for the Czech Republic, whose next opponent is Slovenia on Friday.
Nielsen stopped 30 shots for Denmark, which faces Switzerland on Saturday.