Canada off to winning start, hosts Russia beaten


Canada made a winning start to the defence of their IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship defence in Russia on Friday, thumping North American rivals United States 5-1.

After Patrick Maroon fired an unfamiliar American side in front, it became one-way traffic for Canada, whose roster is packed with NHL talent.

Taylor Hall set the ball rolling with the leveller in the sixth minute of the opening period, and Brendan Gallagher and Matt Duchene had Canada 3-1 up by the third.

Boone Jenner then stretched the advantage before Brad Marchand completed the rout.

"We've got to fix some things in the defensive zone," US captain Matt Hendricks said. "Our structure broke down too many times tonight and gave them too many opportunities.

"A team with that type of high-end skill, they're going to find the back of the net."

Last year's runners-up Russia are among the favourites to win the tournament on home soil but were beaten 3-0 in a far-from-ideal opener in Moscow.

Sweden, who won the tournament in 2013, trail Czech Republic by a point in Group A following their 2-1 overtime victory over Latvia, while Finland's 6-2 thumping of Belarus sees them join Canada at the summit of Group B.