Sweden's perfect start at the 2012 IIHF world hockey championship came crashing to earth with a major thud on Friday.
Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins exploded for five points, including a hat trick, as Russia overpowered the Swedes 7-3 before a stunned crowd at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. The result allowed Russia (5-0-0) to seize top spot in Group S (Stockholm) ahead of the Tre Kronor, who had reeled off four straight wins to start the tournament.
Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson notched a first-period goal for Sweden, while captain Daniel Alfredsson picked up a pair of assists as the worlds co-hosts built a 3-1 lead by the midway point of the second period. But Malkin, the National Hockey League's top scorer in 2011-12, struck at the 16:00 mark of the middle frame to turn the tide.
Russia pulled even at 3-3 heading into the third period, then dominated the final 20 minutes with a four-goal outburst — two of them by Malkin. The backbreaker came just 15 seconds into the final period, when Alexander Perezhogin put Russia ahead to stay.
Earlier in Stockholm, Senators forward Milan Michalek and the Czech Republic blanked Italy 6-0. At Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Canada (4-0-1) took over top spot in Group H by storming back from an early two-goal deficit to upend defending champion Finland 5-3. The Finns had been unbeaten in four starts entering the contest.
In games Saturday involving Senators players, the Swedes — whose roster also includes Ottawa forward Jakob Silfverberg — aim to return to their winning ways against Italy (2:15 p.m. ET) in Stockholm, where Senators forward Kaspars Daugavins and Latvia will also square off against Norway (6:15 a.m. ET). In Helsinki, Stephane Da Costa and France face off against Switzerland (9:15 a.m. ET).
Senators re-sign Cannone
Forward Pat Cannone, the Binghamton Senators' third-leading scorer in 2011-12, has inked a two-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa organization.
The 23-year-old native of Bayport, N.Y., recently completed his first full American Hockey League season with the B-Sens, finishing third on the team in goals (19) and points (43). He was one of only two Binghamton players to see action in all 76 of the team's games.
"We thought he had a tremendous first year," said Senators assistant general manager Tim Murray. "He certainly merited an opportunity to come back here and improve on that, and see if he can become some type of an NHL player. Whether that's a regular guy or a guy who can play games, that's yet to be seen. But we're very happy to get him back into the fold."
Cannone signed with the Senators as a free agent in April 2011 after completing his NCAA career with Miami (Ohio). The 5-11, 197-pounder totalled 45 goals and 133 points during four years with the RedHawks.