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Russians rout Swedes 5-0 in Lundqvist's debut

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
The second day of the Torino Olympic hockey tournament wasn't kind to Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist.

Making his Olympic debut against a Russian team that featured Blueshirts teammates Darius Kasparaitis and Fedor Tyutin, Lundqvist and Sweden suffered a rough 5-0 defeat on Thursday.

Lundqvist made 27 saves - including saves on both Kasparaitis and Tyutin -- but the Russians dominated on goals by Alexei Kovalev, Alexander Ovechkin, Maxim Sushinsky, Viktor Kozlov and Maxim Afinogenov. Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov made 24 saves for the shutout.

The loss dropped Sweden to 1-1 in the preliminary round of the tournament. Russia, which fell to Slovakia on Wednesday, improved to 1-1. Each team will play five preliminary round games before medal-round play begins on Feb. 22, when the top four teams in each of two six-team divisions advance to the quarterfinals.

Earlier on Thursday, Jaromir Jagr scored his second goal of this year's Olympics, and Rangers teammates Martin Straka and Martin Rucinsky each had assists, but it wasn't enough to keep the Czech Republic from falling to Switzerland in one of the biggest upsets so far.

Colorado Avalanche goaltender David Aebischer made 40 saves for the Swiss, who stunned the Czechs 3-2 just one day after being routed by Finland in their Olympic opener.

Jagr scored the first of the two Czech goals, tying the game 1-1 at 2:55 of the second period. Straka and Vaclav Prospal assisted on the goal, but seven minutes later, the Swiss team went up 2-1. Rucinsky later assisted on a Ales Hemsky's goal that tied the game at the 1:00 mark of the third period, but Mark Streit made it 3-2 for Switzerland at 6:42, and Aebischer, who had 12 saves in the final period, preserves the lead.

The Czechs, whose roster also includes Rangers defenseman Marek Malik, are now 1-1 in the five-game preliminary round. They will play Finland in their next game at 3:05 p.m. ET on Saturday.

In today's opening game, Ville Nieminen's Finnish team improved to 2-0 with its second straight shutout of the Olympics - a 6-0 win over Italy. The Finns got two third-period goals from Teemu Selanne after building up a 3-0 lead on goals by Jere Lehtinen, Saku Koivu and Jussi Jokinen.

In today's only other game involving a Rangers player, Marcel Hossa and Slovakia beat Latvia 6-3. Marcel's older brother Marian scored two goals for the undefeated Slovaks, who also got goals from Richard Zednik, Ronald Petrovicky, Pavol Demitra and Zdeno Chara. Coached by Marcel and Marian Hossa's father Frantisek, Slovakia built up a 4-1 lead in the first period and never looked back in overwhelming a Latvian team that had time the U.S. on Wednesday.

In Thursday's final two games, Canada beat Germany 5-1 and Team USA faced Kazakhstan.

Canada, which improved to 2-0, got goals from Wade Redden, Joe Sakic, Simon Gagne, Dany Heatley and Shane Doan. Goaltender Roberto Luongo, making his first Olympic start, faced only 12 shots.

Team USA, now 1-0-1, had little trouble with the Kazaks. Bill Guerin, Brian Rolston, Brian Gionta and Mike Modano scored the U.S. goals, giving Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro (8 saves) a win in his Olympic debut.

The tournament takes a one-day break on Friday. Men's hockey resuming on Saturday with all 12 teams in action.
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