Defending champs open with victory at Worlds
PARIS — Four different Canadian players scored and captain Claude Giroux had two assists as the twotime defending champions opened the IIHF World Hockey Championship with a 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic on Friday.
Ryan O’Reilly, Mike Matheson, Tyson Barrie and Jeff Skinner scored for Canada. Lukas Radil had the lone goal for the Czechs.
The Czechs, boosted by the lively crowd at the AccorHotels Arena, recorded the first six shots of the game on netminder Calvin Pickard. The Canadians withstood the early attack and opened the scoring at 6:09 when O’Reilly beat netminder Petr Mrazek after taking a pass from behind the net by Mark Scheifele.
Canada extended the lead with a power-play goal just 55 seconds into the second period.
Matheson threaded a shot from the point through a crowd to make it 2-0.
The Czechs halved the lead with 7:19 left to play in the third period. Radil scored a power-play goal, beating Pickard on the open side, to spoil the shutout.
Just 2:09 later, Barrie restored Canada’s two-goal lead and Skinner added an empty-net goal with 42.1 seconds left.
Canada will take on Slovenia on Sunday.
Czech forward Roman Cervenka was forced to leave the game after taking a puck to the face in the third period.
Pickard helped Canada win gold last year in Russia. He allowed one goal in two games as the backup to Cam Talbot.
Canada’s Mitch Marner, left, collides with Czech Republic’s Jakub Jerabek, right, during Friday’s game.