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Swedish Sens off to quarter-finals on winning note

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators

Call it a Sens-ational finish to the preliminary round for Sweden at the 2012 IIHF World Hockey championship.

Ottawa Senators forward Jakob Silfverberg notched a first-period goal, defenceman Erik Karlsson added two assists and captain Daniel Alfredsson contributed a helper as the Swedes blanked Latvia 4-0 on Tuesday at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.

Sweden (6-1-0) finished second behind Russia (7-0-0) in Group S (Stockholm) and will face the third-place Czech Republic — whose roster includes forward Milan Michalek of the Senators — in Thursday's quarter-final round (2:15 p.m., TSN). The Czechs routed Germany 8-1 on Tuesday, but Michalek was held off the scoresheet.

Also Thursday in Stockholm, Russia takes on Norway, which placed fourth in Group S (8:45 a.m., TSN). Group H (Helsinki) winner Canada faces off against fourth-place Slovakia (6 a.m., TSN) in another quarter-final at the Hartwall Arena in the Finnish capital, while the second-place United States squares off with tourney co-host Finland (11:30 a.m., TSN), which wound up third in Group H.

Saturday's semifinals and Sunday's medal games will also be played in Helsinki.

On Tuesday, Karlsson set up future Senators teammate Silfverberg for a power-play goal at the 14:40 mark of the first period, giving the Swedes a 2-0 lead. Alfredsson drew an assist on another power-play marker by Henrik Zetterberg of the Detroit Red Wings in the second period, with Karlsson picking up his second helper on Sweden's final tally of the night in the third, by the Red Wings' Johan Franzen.

Loui Eriksson of the Dallas Stars opened the game's scoring for Sweden early in the opening frame.

The loss marked the end of tournament play for Senators forward Kaspars Daugavins of Latvia.

France's bid to make the final eight for the first time since 1995 ended with a dramatic 5-4 loss to Slovakia. The French needed a regulation win to reach the quarter-finals. Senators prospect Stephane Da Costa picked up one assist in the game, his sixth point of the 2012 worlds.

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