Canada makes quarterfinals at worlds with win over France

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

PRAGUE -- Canada overcame France 4-3 to maintain a perfect record at the ice hockey world championship and secure a quarterfinal spot on Saturday.

Defending champion Russia thrashed Belarus 7-0 for its fourth win, and Sweden followed Canada by clinching a quarterfinal berth by edging Switzerland 2-1 in overtime.

Also, last year's runner-up, Finland, struck late to blank Slovakia 3-0 for the fourth straight shutout, Latvia prevailed in overtime to beat Austria 2-1, and Denmark was a 4-1 winner over Norway for its first victory.

Canada forward Jordan Eberle deflected Brent Burns' shot into the net on a power play to break a 3-3 tie with 10:42 remaining in the final period. It was his second goal of the game.

Eberle wasn't surprised by France's effort, not after it stunned the Canadians 3-2 in a penalty shootout at last year's worlds.

"Every year there's a game where you're in a real fight to get the puck in the net," he said. "You have to find a way to win, and today we did that with our power play."

Forward Tyler Seguin also scored twice on power plays for Canada, which outshot France 43-21.

Canada tops Group A with 15 points, followed by Sweden with 13. The host Czech Republic is three points back in third, one point ahead of Switzerland. Latvia has four while Austria is on three.

The top four teams in each of the two groups of eight will make the quarterfinals.

Seguin and Eberle scored 66 seconds apart in the opening period for a 2-0 lead before Julien Desrosiers pulled one back for France.

Seguin added his second in the middle period, and France came back in the third on goals from Yorick Treille and Damien Fleury.

Filip Forsberg scored the decisive goal for Sweden for his sixth at the tournament with 71 seconds to go.

Elias Lindholm put Sweden 1-0 up early on, and Simon Bodenmann tied it for Switzerland 33 seconds into the final period.

"They played pretty tough in front of their own net," Lindholm said. "The third period wasn't great. We've got the W and that's the only thing that matters."

Evgeni Malkin scored his first goal of the tournament and added one assist for Russia. Seven different players scored for the Russians, including captain Ilya Kovalchuk.

"We haven't always played as well as we should," Kovalchuk said. "One good game doesn't make a full season."

Russia, Finland, and the United States are tied atop Group B with 12 points. Belarus is fourth with 10, and Slovakia remains fifth with seven. Norway has six, and Denmark four.

Joonas Donskoi broke the scoreless deadlock for Finland midway through the final period, Juhamatti Aaltonen added the second with 4:27 left, and Leo Komarov finished off Slovakia with an empty net goal seven seconds before the end.

After Pekka Rinne had the previous three shutouts, backup goaltender Juuse Saros stopped all 22 Slovak shots.

Latvia captain Kaspars Daugavins scored the winner against Austria 33 seconds into overtime.

"We still know what's our job in this tournament, we need to survive," Daugavins said.

The bottom teams will be relegated.

Brian Lebler put Austria 1-0 ahead in the first period, and Lauris Darzins tied it in the second.

Daniel Nielsen scored the winning goal on a power play, and added an assist for Denmark to beat Norway for the first time in six encounters.