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Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Teams face each other in event opener

Associated Press

OTTAWA -- Team Canada is back on track.

Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Sakic and Brad Richards scored in the second period to lead Canada to a 3-1 over the United States in a World Cup of Hockey exhibition game Wednesday night.

The Canadians avenged a 3-1 loss to the Americans on Monday night in Columbus, exhibiting more energy and physical play on Wednesday.

"It was a start," Canadian forward Jarome Iginla said. "We got outcompeted in those areas in the first one.

"They're all going to be tough games and for us to be successful, we're going to need to play Canadian hockey -- a combination of speed and skill and physical play. Tonight, we did more of that. We can still do more, but we're working the rust off and getting better in that area."

Chris Drury scored in the third period for the U.S., which outshot Canada 27-21, including 15-6 in the third period with the home side protecting a lead.

Canada plays its final exhibition game Saturday night against Slovakia in Ottawa. It begins tournament play Tuesday night in Montreal against the U.S.

U.S. goaltender Robert Esche was sharp in a scoreless first period before giving way to Ty Conklin, who gave up all three goals in the second period.

Lecavalier started the scoring when he beat Conklin on a 2-on-1 break with Mario Lemieux in the second.

Just over two minutes later, Sakic scored on a 2-on-1 through the five-hole and Richards capped the binge with goal from Lemieux with 30 seconds left in the period.

"We just made some mistakes, turnovers, that you make in exhibition games," said U.S. defenseman Brian Leetch. "Halfway through the game we'd allowed only 12 shots but half of them were 2-on-1s against our goaltender.

Lemieux was impressive in his first action after sitting out Monday's game along with linemates Richards and Martin St. Louis.

After giving up all three goals against the U.S. on Monday, Canada's Roberto Luongo stopped all eight shots he faced, including a nifty glove save on a deflection by Keith Tkachuk.

Jose Theodore took over 10:24 into the second period and was equally solid, and much busier. The two are battling for the backup job behind No. 1 goaltender Martin Brodeur.

After a turnover in Canada's end, Drury stopped Aaron Miller's shot and fired into an open side past the fallen Theodore at 4:10 of the third period.

The Americans had a goal disallowed for interference midway through the first period after Doug Weight broke in the right side and plowed into Luongo.

That was as close as the Americans would get to scoring until their third-period rally, but by then it was too late against a revved up Canadian team.

"What I liked was that our forwards worked harder getting back to the puck and gave some outlet plays for the defense," Canada coach Pat Quinn said. "We didn't have that the other night."

Notes: The teams agreed to use 22 players each -- two more than normal. Canada had 12 forwards and eight defensemen while the U.S. had 14 forwards and six defenders. . . . Canada opted to sit out Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Simon Gagne, as well as goalie Martin Brodeur. . . Brett Hull, Rick DiPietro, Paul Martin and the injured Jordan Leopold and Brian Rafalski sat out for the U.S. Martin joined the team to replace former University of Minnesota teammate Leopold, who pulled out of the tournament with a concussion. . . . Pre-game team workouts Wednesday morning were canceled as American players met with NHLPA representatives in town for negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement. The union is to meet Thursday with Team Canada. Canada is 8-3-1 all time vs. the U.S. in Canada Cup and World Cup play.

Sweden 2, Finland 1

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Markus Naslund scored two minutes into overtime, leading Sweden past rival Finland in an exhibition game.

Naslund scored on a wrist shot past goalie Mikka Kiprusoff. P.J. Axelsson of the Boston Bruins set up the game-winner with a perfect pass.

Olli Jokinen of the Florida Panthers scored just 46 seconds in, stunning Swedish backup goalie Tommy Salo with a shot between the legs on a wraparound.

Jorgen Jonsson scored a tying goal 6:44 into the third period off a pass from Peter Forsberg.