Russians preserve perfect record at worlds

Russia beat Italy 4-0 to make it a clean sweep at the preliminary stages of the ice hockey world championships, winning all their group games.

Eurosport

In Helsinki, Finland finished their preliminary passage with a flourish, Valtteri Filppula notching two goals and two assists as they beat Kazakhstan 4-1.

It was top against bottom as the Russians took on Italy in a bid to make it seven wins out of seven and once Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring in the 11th minute the writing was on the wall.

Russia added two more before the half-hour mark to kill the game with Alexander Popov scoring the fourth late in the third period.

Latvia suffered a 2-0 defeat to Denmark, snuffing out any slim hopes they may have had of making the quarter-finals.

The win left Russia at the top of the group with a perfect 21 points. Behind them are Sweden, the Czech Republic and Norway, who all play their final group games on Tuesday.

In Helsinki, it took until the fifth minute of the second period for the Finns to break the deadlock through Jussi Jokinen.

Mikko Maenpaa made it 2-0 seven minutes later before Filppula netted his first late in the period and repeated the feat early in the third to put the game beyond reach.

The Kazakhs scraped a consolation goal in the middle of the third period through Konstantin Pushkaryov - one of only 11 goals they managed in their seven group games.

France still have a chance to qualify for the quarter-finals, having beaten Belarus 2-1 in their penultimate group game.

Canada, who face Belarus on Tuesday, top the group on 16 points, one ahead of the Finns. The third-placed U.S. team (13 points) can jump to second if they beat Switzerland in their final game in Helsinki.

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