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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gretzky, Canada Put Russia on Ice


VANCOUVER -- Canada beat Russia 5-3 in the opening North American contest of ice hockey's World Cup while the Czech Republic recorded their second defeat with a 3-0 loss to Sweden.

Russia had an apparent tying goal by Sergei Nemchinov waved off with 1:41 remaining Thursday when linesman Brad Lazarovich notified the referee that the Russians had seven men on the ice.

Canada scored twice in the third period, breaking a 3-3 tie when Joe Sakic of the National Hockey League's Colorado Avalanche put a rebound of a shot by New York Ranger Wayne Gretzky into an open net just 52 seconds into the period.

Canada scored its fifth goal in the final minute, also on a power play, when Theoren Flleury took a Gretzky pass and hit the open side of the Russian net.

Russia scored first, in the opening period at 2:18, when the Rangers' Alexei Kovalev beat Canadian goalie Curtis Joseph with a 10-foot rebound, after a rush by Alexei Yashin and Slava Fetisov.

Canada roared back, outshooting Russia in the first period 17-6 and scoring three times.

Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks stole the puck behind the Russian net and passed out to Montreal's Vincent Damphousse, who beat Russian goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with a 20-footer while Canada played short-handed at 9:23.

At 14:24, Canada went ahead on a power play. The Rangers' Mark Messier passed back to Eric Desjarddins at the point, from which he blasted a 55-footer past Khabibulin.

With two minutes remaining in the period, the Hartford Whalers' Brendan Shanahan shot between Khabibulin's legs to give Canada a 3-1 lead. Russia changed strategy in the second period, rushing the Canadian net, and scored twice in the first three minutes.

Vladimir Malakhov of Montreal took a pass from Alexei Zhamnov to beat Joseph with a 10-footer.

On the next shift Detroit's Sergei Fedorov scored on a quick rush.

The Russians appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal midway through the period when Slava Kozlov of Detroit banged home a second rebound, but referee Terry Gregson disallowed this goal saying the net was dislodged before the puck entered the net. Russia outshot Canada 15-6 in the second period.

Canada regained the momentum in the third period, outshooting their rivals 12-8 to end the game ahead 35-29 on shots. On Saturday, Russia plays Slovakia at Montreal and Canada faces the United States at Philadelphia.

In Prague, boos, whistles and empty beer cans on the ice welcomed Czech Jaromir Jagr as his expected triumphant homecoming turned into a nightmare.

His appearance in Prague was the first on a national team in front of Czech fans, hoping to glimpse the hero they otherwise only know from television.

"We played strange hockey tonight," Jagr said after the Czechs were shut out by the Swedes 3-0 in their second World Cup game. On Tuesday, they were routed by the Finns in Helsinki 7-2.

The victory assures Sweden a place in the second round, with Finland also advancing into the second round having routed Germany 8-3 on Wednesday.

The Czechs will play the Germans on Saturday for third place in the European pool.

Does Jagr expect a win?

"After the two matches I have seen with this team I wouldn't be surprised if we lost," he said with a sad smile.

After single round-robin play, the second and third place teams play a crossover, single elimination (knockout) second round. The group winners play the second round winners in the semifinals and the winners there face off in a best-of-three final series beginning Sept 10. ()