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KULIKOV, RUSSIA PULL PAST EICHEL, NORTH AMERICA IN WORLD CUP ACTION

by Chris Ryndak / Buffalo Sabres

Dmitry Kulikov and Team Russia earned their first win of the World Cup on Monday, defeating Jack Eichel and the high-flying North Americans 4-3 at Air Canada Centre.

Both teams are now 1-1-0 with one game each remaining in the preliminary round. Only the top two seeds from each pool advance to the semifinals.

Auston Matthews scored first for Team North America, one-timing a feed from Connor McDavid 5:14 into the game. However, Russia opened the second period with four-straight goals. Vladislav Namerstnikov, Nikita Kucherov, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Vladimir Tarasenko were each able to beat Matt Murray, who was pulled after 35:24 of action.

Team North America tried to rally back, but their efforts fell short. Morgan Rielly and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins pulled the young team within one, but Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky shut the door, making 43 saves.

Kulikov wrapped up his night with six shots, a hit and a blocked shot in 18:13 of action. Eichel recorded one shot and a hit in 14:01.

Team North America will face off against Sweden on Wednesday at 3 p.m. on ESPN. Russia is off until Thursday when they will take on Finland at 3 p.m. That game will also be on ESPN.

Two Sabres will take the ice on Tuesday. Rasmus Ristolainen and Team Finland will look to bounce back from their 4-1 loss to North America when they play Sweden at 3 p.m.

Then, Ryan O'Reilly will be in action as Canada plays Team USA at 8 p.m. Both games will air on ESPN.

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