Varlamov, Russia hold off Germany
COLOGNE, Germany -- Alex Ovechkin scored his fourth goal in four games to lead Russia to a 3-2 victory over Germany and remain undefeated at the ice hockey world championship on Saturday.
Two-time defending champion Russia jumped ahead 2-0 after 26 minutes on goals by Ilya Kovalchuk and forward Nikolai Kulemin. Christian Ehrhoff scored for the hosts with 1 second left in the second period.
Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals star, re-established a two-goal advantage with 10 minutes remaining. Alexander Barta got Germany back within 3-2 with six minutes to play, but Russia goalie Semyon Varlamov preserved the victory, finishing with 32 stops.
"They played us tight and they took a lot of emotion from the crowd. They have great fans and they fed off that," said forward Pavel Datsyuk, who joined Russia on Friday after the Detroit Red Wings were eliminated from the NHL playoffs.
Russia improved to 3-0 and has nine points for first place in Group E in the second round of the tournament.
Germany remained in fourth place with three points.
Switzerland was in first place in Group F with nine points after beating the Czech Republic 3-2 to improve to 3-0. The Czechs were fifth among six teams with three points.
In the relegation group, Rangers rookie defenseman Matt Gilroy had a hat trick and the United States ended its scoring struggles with a 10-0 victory over Kazakhstan.
TJ Oshie, Kyle Okposo, Nick Foligno, Ryan Potulny, Brandon Dubinsky, Tim Kennedy and Chris Kreider also scored for the Americans, who had only tallied four goals in three first-round games. Dubinksy also had four assists.
St. Louis Blues forward Oshie opened the scoring 55 seconds into the game and assisted on a goal 18 seconds later by New York Islanders' forward Okposo. Gilroy added two goals by the 10:20 mark of the second and Scott Gordon's team had the offensive boost it had been seeking.
"It was good to get some goals on that first shift. And the rest of the guys just kind of fed off it," Oshie said. "We're really not where we want to be. We wanted to play in the other bracket. But it's nice to get the monkey off our back and get a win."
The Americans next play Sunday against France.
The U.S. is in the relegation round for the first time since 2003 and must finish in the top two of the four-team Group G.
"We have to go home and get some sleep," Gilroy said. "The start will be the key. We need to have a good start like we did today."
France beat Italy 2-1 in the other relegation game after goals by Baptiste Amar and Laurent Gras. Michele Strazzabosco scored for Italy.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
MORE OLYHOCKEY HEADLINES
- Durant, USA pull away from Spain to win gold
- Clippers' Paul has successful surgery on thumb
- Schmitt back to school after Olympic stardom
- Olympian Raisman, Poland Spring sign deal