PARIS, France – Calvin Pickard (Winnipeg, Man./Colorado, NHL) turned aside all 13 shots he faced to earn the shutout, helping Canada’s National Men’s Team to a 6-0 win over Belarus as preliminary-round play continued Monday at the 2017 IIHF World Championship.
The Canadians remain perfect through three games, and sit alone atop Group B.
Nathan MacKinnon (Cole Harbour, N.S./Colorado, NHL) and Brayden Point (Calgary, Alta./Tampa Bay, NHL) had two goals apiece for Canada, Jeff Skinner (Toronto, Ont./Carolina, NHL) added a goal and two assists, and Travis Konecny (Clachan, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL) and Mitch Marner (Thornhill, Ont./Toronto, NHL) chipped in with two helpers each.
Just as they did in each of their first two games, Canada struck early; Point one-timed a feed from Marner past goaltender Mikhail Karnaukhov just past the five-minute mark to give the Canadians all the offence they would need.
MacKinnon, who had a hat trick in a win over Slovenia on Sunday, took over with a pair of goals in the second period.
He doubled the Canadian advantage to 2-0 at 4:20 with an absolute bullet on the power play, wiring a wrist shot past a screened Karnaukhov, and jammed in the 3-0 goal at 15:21 after a centering pass from Skinner hit a skate and ricocheted into the crease.
Skinner scored his third goal in three games at 7:01 of the third period, taking a pass from MacKinnon and roofing a shot from in close, and Claude Giroux (Hearst, Ont./Philadelphia, NHL) pushed the lead to 5-0 just a few seconds after a Canadian power play had ended, burying the rebound of a Skinner shot.
Point capped the scoring with just over five minutes left, pulling the puck around a sliding defenceman before whipping a quick shot past Karnaukhov.
Pickard was rarely tested in the Canadian goal; he made four saves in the first period, three in the second and six more in the third to record his second international shutout; he blanked France at worlds last year.
Canada will enjoy a few days off before returning to the ice to meet the French on Thursday (2:15 p.m. ET/11:15 a.m. PT). The Canadians have won 10 of 12 all-time meetings with the co-hosts, including each of the last two years.
“Maybe they were going to do something they wouldn’t normally do because they’re playing with maybe somebody that’s got a little bigger name. I thought putting the three of them together might relax them and it’s not only relaxed them but they’ve excelled and they’ve been really good.”
– Jon Cooper, Team Canada head coach on the Konecny-Marner-Point line
Since 1931, Canada has won the world championship 20 times – not counting the years when Olympic Winter Games champions were also considered world champion. The country has also collected 11 silver medals and six bronze in that timespan.