Second-period goals by Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd just 2:51 apart put Canada in the driver's seat, and they held on to defeat upstart Slovakia in their World Championship opener.
Jamie Benn opened the scoring for Canada, which held a 19-10 advantage in shots through two periods but needed Cam Ward to hold off a furious surge over the final 20 minutes.
The win did come at a cost, however. After logging just six minutes of ice time, Alexandre Burrows left in the second period with an injury and did not return.
Playing without Michal Handzus of the San Jose Sharks, who is expected to join the team for their next game against host Finland, Slovakia entered as a heavy underdog to a Canadian team full of NHL talent.
Canada controlled the pace at the start of the game, with Benn opening the scoring in the first period off a great pass from captain Ryan Getzlaf. Tomas Tatar evened things up for Slovakia just 1:58 into the second, but it appeared the quick goals by Eberle and Ladd might open things up in favor of the Canadians.
After being stifled by Canada's defense through the first two periods, the Slovaks came out harder in the final frame, peppering Ward with shots. Milan Bartovic halved Canada's lead 2:59 into the period. Slovakia fired 11 shots at Ward in the third, more than double their total from the first two periods combined, and received a power-play opportunity with 8:55 left when Corey Perry drew a tripping penalty. But Ward held the fort during Canada's only penalty kill of the game, making a couple of big stops off hard slap shots from Slovakian star Zdeno Chara. Slovakia pulled goaltender Peter Hamerlik in the final minute, but Ward again stood tall.
The game also saw the emergence of 18-year-old Ryan Murray. The top defense prospect at the upcoming 2012 NHL Draft, Murray was pushed into duty by an injury to P.K. Subban. Though his giveaway led to Tatar's second-period goal, Murray finished the game with an even rating and logged 17:09 of ice time on 20 shifts.
On Saturday, Canada will face the United States, which won its opener 7-2 over France, while Slovakia meets the Finns on Sunday.
Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky finished with a shot on goal in 15:11 of ice time while playing on Slovakia's top line.
Germany 3, Italy 0
Known primarily in his native Germany for his time playing with the national team and in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga, Christoph Ullmann is suddenly a more prominent figure at the Worlds following an impressive performance against Italy.
The 28-year-old forward assisted on all three of Germany's goals, with Philip Gogulla -- another DEL veteran who spent the 2009-10 season with the Portland Pirates of the AHL -- chipping in two assists.
"I think overall we can be satisfied with the game we played," said Panthers forward and Germany captain Marcel Goc. "Here and there we had some mistakes but we recovered well.
"We struggled a little bit at the beginning getting shots to the net but once we changed that, got somebody in front of the net and get traffic, we got more chances. Overall it was a solid game."
Dennis Endras made 22 saves for the shutout in a game the Germans controlled throughout, outshooting the Italians 46-22. Goc finished the game with two shots on net on 15:01 of ice time and won 60% of his draws (9-of-15).