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Canada edges past Swedes to top worlds group

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
The preliminaries are all officially complete.

Now it starts to get really serious at the 2011 IIHF World Hockey Championship.

A field that originally started at 16 has been whittled down to eight for quarter-final play, which is set for Wednesday and Thursday at the Orange Arena in Bratislava. And Canada will roll into the phase of the tournament on a high after edging Sweden 3-2 on Monday in Kosice, the second host city for these 2011 worlds in Slovakia.

Canada, which has won all six of its games to date in the world tournament, claimed top spot in Group F when Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets notched a power-play goal with 7:29 to play. James Neal of the Pittsburgh Penguins and John Tavares of the New York Islanders also scored for Canada, with Ottawa Senators centre Jason Spezza picking up an assist on the former's goal in the first period.

Senators defence prospect David Rundblad made his world championship debut for the Tre Kronor in the game, while Ottawa forward prospect Jakob Silfverberg earned an assist — his first point of the tournament.

The defending champion Czech Republic, meanwhile, completed an unbeaten run through Group E by whipping Germany 5-2. Senators forward Milan Michalek did not dress for the game.

Also on Monday, Senators forward Ryan Shannon scored a second-period goal and was named his team's player of the game, but the United States fell to Switerzerland 5-3 in Kosice. In its tournament finale, France and Sens forward Stephane da Costa fell to Norway 5-2.

With the qualification round now complete, Canada advances to a quarter-final matchup Thursday against Russia (2:15 p.m., TSN), while the Czechs face the U.S. on Wednesday (10:15 a.m., TSN) and Sweden tangles with Germany (2:15 p.m., TSN). Also Thursday, Finland squares off against Norway (10:15 p.m., TSN).

The quarter-final winners advance to the semifinals on Friday in Bratislava.

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