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Russia gets past Slovaks in opener

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
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Rangers forward Artem Anisimov came out of his first World Championship game a winner on Sunday, as Russia beat Slovakia 3-1 at Cologne, Germany.

The game was close, thanks to the goaltending of Slovak netminder Peter Budaj, who stopped 32 shots. Russia outshot Slovakia 34-33, but the Slovaks dominated the third period in outshooting the Russians 14-3.

Rangers forward Artem Anisimov slides into Slovak goaltender Peter Budaj as a whistle is blown during the Russians' 3-1 win over Slovakia on Sunday.
Anisimov skated on Russia's third line with Sergei Mozyakin and Maxim Sushinsky, his two linemates fromthe recent LG Hockey Games at Sweden.

Although he didn't figure in the scoring, Anismov tied Sergei Fedorov for the Russian team lead with four shots on goal and was the only team member to fire multiple shots in more than one period. He had two shots in the first period, when he saw 4:10 of ice time and another two in the second, when his ice time rose to 4:48.

Anisimov skated another 4:01 in the third, finishing with 12:59 of ice time to rank seventh among Russian forwards. He was not on ice for any of the game's four goals.

Outshooting the Slovaks by a wide margin, Russia took a 1-0 lead just under 15 minutes into the game. Atlanta's Maxim Afinogenov beat goaltender Peter Budaj for the go-ahead goal at 14:51 with assists from former NHL player Viktor Kozlov and Nikolai Kulemin of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Russian star Alex Ovechkin scored off an assist from Fedorov to make it a 2-0 game at 9:23 of the second period, and the lead held up through 40 minutes with the Russians outshooting the Slovaks 31-19 and only the work of Budaj keeping it close.

Slovakia finally got on the board at 3:51 of the third period, when Ivan Majesky beat Russian goalie Vasili Koshechkin of the KHL's Magnitogorsk team to make it 2-1, but Kozlov put the game away for Russia with an empty-net goal with 54 seconds remaining.

Earlier on Sunday, Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival and his Czech Republic teammates dominated France 6-2 in Mannheim, Germany, in the Czechs' World Championship opener.

Rozsival, making his second World Championship appearance after a fifth-place finish with the Czechs in 2008, led his nation in total ice time with 20:59 and shots on goal with five.

Skating on the top defense pair with 2001 Red Wings draft pick Miroslav Blatak, who plays for Ufa in the KHL, Rozsival saw 7:09 of ice time with two shots on goal in the first period, 7:18 with three shots in the second, and 6:32 of ice time in the third.

Florida Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun was strong in net for the Czechs, stopping 20 shots in his first international game since the Vancouver Olympics. The Czech Republic outshot France 41-22 for the game.

Petr Hubacek gave the Czechs a lead they would never relinquish just 44 seconds into the opening period, when he beat French goaltender Fabrice Lhenry off an assist from former Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr.

Rangers defenseman Michal Rozsival is making his second appearance at the World Championships. He is wearing No.3, which was his number in New York until it was retired for Harry Howell in 2009.
Jiri Novotny, assisted by former Rangers draft pick Filip Novak,  stretched the lead to 2-0 on a power play at 11:43 of the first.

Petr Gregorek made it 3-0 at 3:23 of the third, and former Rangers defenseman Karel Rachunek gave the Czechs a 4-0 edge just under two minutes later at 5:07, scoring off assists from Jagr and Jakub Klepis.

The Czechs kept pouring it on in the third period, as Lukas Kaspar scored to make it 5-0 at the 6:06 mark, but France snapped Vokoun's shutout bid only 21 seconds later on a goal by Yorick Treille, a former Chicago Blackhawks draft pick who played college hockey at Massachusetts-Lowell.

France managed to score yet againat 8:37 of the third, cutting the lead to 5-2. Jagr set up Blatak to restore the four-goal lead on a power play with 33 seconds left in the third period. Rozsival was on the ice with the power-play unit when Blatak scored.

The World Championship tournament is reuniting Rozsival with Jagr, who was his Blueshirts teammate for three seasons from 2005 to 2008.

Sunday's other games included Belarus' 5-2 win over Kazakhstan and Sweden's 5-2 win over Norway.

Six Blueshirts will compete at the Worlds on Monday. Team USA, which lost its opener to Germany in overtime, faces Denmark at Cologne, while Team Canada, which routed Italy, goes up against Latvia at Mannheim.
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