Six players score for U.S. in 6-2 win over Austria

MYTISCHI, Russia -- Montreal Canadiens forward Tomas
Plekanec scored twice in the Czech Republic's 8-2 victory over
Belarus in Group B preliminary round action Friday at the world
hockey championships.

Earlier, St. Louis Blues forward Lee Stempniak had a goal and an
assist to help the United States to a 6-2 win over Austria.

In Moscow, Timo Parssinen scored two power-play goals in the
second period to help Finland open with a 5-0 win over Ukraine, and
nine different Russians scored as the host nation routed Denmark

The Czechs, who took the silver medal in 2006, converted on
three of seven power-play opportunities. The Florida Panthers'
Rostislav Olesz also scored a short-handed goal.

"It was an unexpectedly easy match for us," Jaroslav Hlinka
said. "We didn't expect this against Belarus. The goalkeepers were
probably not in their best shape."

Hlinka and Columbus Blue Jackets forward David Vyborny opened
the scoring with power-play goals within the first 10 minutes.
Belarus captain Oleg Antonenko scored the first of his two goals at
16:18, but Plekanec scored 13 seconds later and Olesz made it 4-1
for the Czechs with less than 2 minutes left in the first period.

Edmonton Oilers center Petr Sykora scored at 7:21 into the
second period and Antonenko answered 19 seconds later.

Plekanec notched his second goal in the final period, Jan Marek
added another on the power play 5:13 in and Zbynek Irgl closed out
the scoring 15 seconds later.

The United States is seeking its first medal since winning
bronze at Prague in 2004. During the last worlds at Moscow in 1986,
the U.S. team lost in the preliminary round robin -- but avoided

"I thought it was critical that we get off to a good start,"
U.S. coach Mike Sullivan said. "Certainly, if you can win the
first game it takes a little bit of pressure off as far as your
ability to advance in this tournament."

Boston Bruins forward Phil Kessel, who helped the United States
win world junior gold in 2005, opened the scoring less than 2
minutes into the game, coming from behind the net to fire the puck
over Reinhard Divis' glove.

The Oilers' Tobias Petersen made it 2-0 at 10:22 when the puck
bounced off his skate and through Divis' five-hole. Raimund Divis
put Austria on the board at 14:51, but Stempniak converted a
two-man power play less than 3 minutes later to restore the
two-goal lead.

Chris Clark of the Washington Capitals scored 24 seconds into
the middle period to make it 4-1. Austria's Oliver Setzinger closed
out the second-period scoring at 10:51.

Erik Cole and Brandon Bochenski scored in the final period to
put the game out of reach.

"We needed to get one under our belt and we did," Nashville
Predators defenseman Ryan Suter said. "We just want to win, and
winning by the score we did was a bonus. We had it on them in the
first period and then they turned it on a bit at the end of the
second period. Hopefully, we can get another one on Sunday."

On Sunday, the U.S. faces Belarus, and Austria plays the Czechs.

Russia scored early and often against Denmark.

Evgeni Malkin capped a three-goal outburst in the first 4
minutes, and Alexander Ovechkin scored a goal and added an assist.

Danis Zaripov redirected a pass from Sergei Zinoviev under
Denmark goaltender Peter Hirsch to put Russia ahead after 28

Ilya Nikulin scored at 3:32 and Malkin beat Hirsch 22 seconds
later to give Russia an early 3-0 lead.

Ovechkin set up linemate Nikolai Kulemin to make it 7-1 midway
through the second period and then scored a spectacular goal less
than 3 minutes later.

Skating backward in the slot, Ovechkin took a pass from Ivan
Nepryaev and wristed a shot into the top corner past Hirsh, who was
then replaced by Michael Madsen.

Also in Moscow, Parssinen deflected from the point a shot by
Petteri Nummmelin at 7:18 of the second period to give Finland a
3-0 lead.

He scored again 6 minutes later on a 5-on-3 when he picked up a
rebound and tucked it behind Ukraine goaltender Igor Karpenko on a

Sean Bergenheim also scored for Finland in the second and Petri
Kontiola completed the scoring with a power-play goal midway
through the third.

Finland took a 1-0 lead at 12:07 of the first period when Ville
Peltonen of the Florida Panthers fed Pekka Saravo, who beat
Karpenko with a slap shot from the high slot.

Fredrik Norrena, playing in place of the injured Antero
Niittymaki, faced little pressure but made several key saves in the
third period to preserve the shutout.