PICKARD STOPS 13, CANADA BLANKS BELARUS AT WORLDS

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    Calvin Pickard

    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.

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    “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.

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