The hockey powers took to the ice on Tuesday with first place on the line and Russia came out victorious with a 5-3 victory over the United States. In the other group, Canada continued their push for a top spot in easily defeating Norway 7-1.
RUSSIA 5 - USA 3
HELSINKI, Finland - With first place in Group H on the line midway through the preliminaries, Russia scored twice in the third to pull away from a tight game and beat the United States 5-3 to vault themselves to the top of their eight team group.
Tied after each of the first two periods, the Russians struck twice in a two minute span in the final eight minutes of play to down the US. The game-winner came with 7:25 to play as Yevgeni Medvedev beat Ben Bishop with a shot. They added a power play goal by Alexander Radulov with 4:33 to play to give them the two-goal cushion.
Group H's top team struck early in the game when Anton Belov beat Bishop 5:23 into the game. Colorado's Paul Stastny answered to give the US a short-lived lead scoring at even strength at 10:58 and then a power play goal at 13:28 of the first. The reason it was short-lived? New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk who potted his fifth of the tournament just 36 seconds after Stastny's second of the game.
The Americans retook the lead in the second when Matt Hunwick beat netminder Ilya Bryzgalov at the 7:09 mark but Russia answered shortly after once again. This time it was Alexei Tereshenko struck 4:10 later to send the teams to the second intermission tied at two.
Forward Nick Bjugstad finished with 9:42 of ice time on 15 shifts and was a plus-1 while being on the ice for the US' third goal.
CANADA 7 - NORWAY 1
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - The Canadians struck for four goals in the opening period and didn't look back in downing Norway 7-1 on Tuesday.
Canada scored their first goal of the game 4:45 in as Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos set up Winnipeg's Andrew Ladd. It would be just the start for Stamkos as he collected points on four of the team's goals.
The sniper then set up a Southeast Division foe in setting up Carolina's Jeff Skinner with 6:53 to play in the first and that opened the flood gates. Colorado's Matt Duchene made it a 3-0 game with 3:03 to play and Philadelphia's Claude Giroux connected on a power play goal with 1:56 left in the opening 20 minutes.
Edmonton's Taylor Hall made it a 5-0 game with a goal 2:28 into the second before Norway's KA Olimb ended fellow Oiler Devan Dubnyk's shutout bid with 9:36 left in the second.
Stamkos picked up his fourth point of the game and second goal of the tournament with 4:32 gone in the third and Hall capped off the scoring with his second of the night with 7:25 remaining.
Canada next plays Sweden on Thursday. While he didn't factor on the score sheet, Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell finished a plus-3 along with four shots on 17:47 of ice time.