Olympic champions Canada battled back from two goals down to clinch their group lead with a 5-3 win over reigning champions and co-hosts of the world ice hockey championship Finland on Friday.
New York Islanders center John Tavares and Carolina Hurricanes center Jeff Skinner both collected a goal and an assist, while goalie Cam Ward made 35 saves to lift their team on top of their group.
The Finns got off to a lively start through left-winger Antti Pihlstrom, who had his 13,000 home supporters on their feet, scoring the opening goal 5:53 minutes into the match.
Finland skipper Mikko Koivu made it 2-0 on a power play halfway into the first period.
However, in the second Canada upped the tempo to level at 3-3 through Vancouver Canucks winger Alexandre Burrows, Tavares and Skinner, who scored one apiece, while Jussi Jokinen was on target for Finland.
Winnipeg Jets center Evander Kane scored the Canada winner 6:04 into the third.
In the late stages Finland substituted their ’keeper for the sixth field player, but only to allow Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle to send the puck into the empty net with just 24 seconds to go.
Meanwhile, in Stockholm, Russia also came back from two goals down to maintain their lead with a 7-3 win over Sweden, their fifth win in as many matches.
Sweden were slightly more precise in the first period, scoring two power-play goals by Ottawa Senators defender Erik Karlsson and Detroit Red Wings wing Henrik Zetterberg, while Russia replied through Alexander Popov.
In the second, Russia pulled to level as this year’s NHL scoring champion Yevgeni Malkin and Alexei Yemelin both scored for Russia, while another Detroit winger, Johan Franzen, added his goal for Sweden.
Alexander Perezhogin netted Russia’s fourth just 15 seconds into the third, while Malking added two more goals to grab the lead in the event’s scorers contest with 11 points (six goals and five assists) and secure Russia’s win.
Blueliner Denis Denisov made it 7-3 with 54 seconds remaining.
In the early Helsinki match, the US had to battle through three periods against Kazakhstan to record their second overtime 3-2 win at the event.
The US looked rusty from the start and failed to break the deadlock before Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown scored their opening goal 14:12 into the second period, but Kazakhstan winger Konstantin Pushkaryov leveled four minutes later.
Carolina Hurricanes defender Justin Faulk restored the US lead at 44:58, but Talgat Zhailauov leveled again with 4:06 remaining in the third period, sending the game into overtime.
Faulk was the hero of the match, scoring a sudden-death winner with just 22 seconds to go, to add two points to his team’s balance.
The 2010 champions, the Czech Republic, took a 6-0 win over Italy at the ice of Globe arena.
The Czech Republic clinched a 2-0 lead in the first period, scoring through Petr Nedved and Jiri Novotny.
In the second Petr Caslava netted a double, while Ales Hemsky added a goal to give the Czech Republic a commanding 5-0 lead.
Nashville Predators winger Martin Erat rounded off the scoring at 54:29.