Russia dominates Finland, heads into quarter-finals with 5-0 record

COLOGNE, Germany – Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves and Russia continued its dominance of the IIHF world hockey championship with a 5-0 win over Finland on Tuesday.

Russia finished the qualifying round with a 5-0 record and will play its quarter-final Thursday against Canada, which limped into the playoff round after a 3-2 loss to the Czech Republic.

Maxim Afinogenov had a goal and an assist for Russia, while Sergei Fedorov, Evgeni Malkin, Nikolai Kulemin and Alexei Emelin also scored.

Petri Vehanen made 30 saves for Finland.

In other results, host Germany edged Slovakia 2-1 and Sweden hammered Switzerland 5-0.

Germany will face Switzerland in Thursday’s quarter-finals, while Finland faces the Czechs and Sweden takes on surprising Denmark. The Danes are appearing in the final eight for the first time.

The team to beat is Russia, which has not lost at the world championship since dropping a 2-1 overtime decision to Finland at the 2007 tournament in Moscow.

The Russians excelled against a depleted Finnish team, which lost defencemen Juuso Hietanen and Pasi Puistola to injury and forward Jussi Jokinen to a game misconduct for a hit to the head.

Sweden powered its way into the playoffs with a dominating performance over Switzerland.

Tony Martensson led the way for the Swedes with a goal and two assists, while Jacob Markstrom made 28 saves for the shutout.

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Daniel Kreutzer scored the game-winning goal and added an assist to help the host Germans beat Slovakia and earn a spot in the quarter-finals. Slovakia was unable to duplicate the success it had at the Vancouver Olympics, where it advanced to the bronze-medal game.

Elsewhere, the U.S. avoided relegation after TJ Oshie scored three times in the penalty shootout for a 3-2 win over Italy.

The U.S. swept its demotion group, winning all three games. France also avoided relegation by defeating Kazakhstan 5-3 for second place. Third-place Italy and last-place Kazakhstan will play in the second division next year.

New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead after 12 minutes. But the Italians got goals by Giulio Scandella in the second period and Stefano Margoni for a 2-1 lead with 13 minutes left.

Dubinsky set up Ryan Potulny’s power-play goal with 8:52 remaining to force overtime.

“We looked at each other and said we need to capitalize on this chance right now,” Potulny said. “It wasn’t a fancy goal, I just shoved home the rebound. But it was what we needed.”

Neither team scored in overtime, setting up Oshie’s heroics. The St. Louis Blues forward scored on three of five attempts against goalie Daniel Bellissimo.

—With files from The Associated Press.