STOCKHOLM – Claude Giroux scored a sensational goal and added two assists to lead Canada to an impressive 4-1 win over Belarus. Devan Dubnyk faced only ten shots in Canada's goal to secure the win.
Alexei Yefimenko scored late for Belarus to end Canada's shutout streak at 145:34, going back to the second period of the Norway game.
Belarus remains winless against Canada in seven all-time World Championship games.
Steven Stamkos had two points to keep pace with Ilya Kovalchuk (RUS) and Petri Kontiola (FIN), who all have nine points to lead the tournament in scoring.
The win gives Canada 13 points. The Swiss have 11 and a game in hand. Belarus remains with only three points, tied for sixth with Denmark.
"There weren't many mistakes tonight," Dubnyk suggested. "We played a full 60 minutes. If we keep playing this way, we should be on the right side of games."
Canada (4-0-1-0) now has a day off before playing the Czechs on Sunday afternoon. Belarus (1-0-0-3) plays Norway in the late game Saturday night.
The strengths and weaknesses of Belarus were in plain evidence in the opening period. The team has scored only five goals in its first three games and allowed only seven, a clear indication that offence is the problem. Indeed, they Belarusians were frustratingly good defensively, but Canada played patiently and scored on their two best chances.
Ryan O’Neill opened the scoring at 11:17 after Jordan Staal stripped Roman Graborenko off the puck behind the Belarus net. Jeff Skinner picked up the loose puck and made a quick pass to O'Neill, who made no mistake from close range.
"It was great to get the first goal," O'Reilly said. "It helped us build some momentum, and we outworked them down low. In the first couple of games, we started slowly, but lately we've been getting going in the first five-to-ten minutes and outworking the other team to get the first goal."
Andrew Ladd made it 2-0 at 16:59 on the power play. Giroux teed the puck up for him in the slot, and Ladd ripped a laser over the glove of Dmitri Milchakov.
At the other end, Devan Dubnyk, making his second start in Stockholm, had few shots, none particularly dangerous. Indeed, shots were 20-2 in the period.
It was more of the same in the second, but after Canada made it 3-0 at 5:27 it let its foot off the gas. Giroux dangled his way with amazing skill through the Belarus defence, then dished the puck off to Steven Stamkos who had an open net.
Canada played superb defence, but Belarus simply didn’t have the skill or firepower to test Dubnyk, who faced only three more harmless shots in the period.
In the third, Giroux scored a goal that put a huge "this is what we want in Sochi" grin on Steve Yzerman's face. Giroux took the puck behind the Belarus net and faked one way. Milchakov slid over too far too quickly, and Giroux came out the other side and tucked the puck into a wide open net.
Yefimenko's goal was flukey. He fired the puck on net from a bad angle only to see it bounce off the skate of Canadian defenceman Brian Campbell past a surprised Dubnyk.
"We're not doing anything crazy," Dubnyk added. "We're just working hard and out-muscling teams in their end, controlling the puck. When that happens, things start to open up."