By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Defending champion Canada thrashed Belarus 8-0 on Monday to remain unbeaten through three games at the ice hockey world championships while hosts Russia celebrated Victory Day with an impressive 4-0 win over Latvia.
Just as was the case in their previous game against Hungary, Canada took some time to get going before blowing the game open with four goals during a 10-minute span of the second period.
Canada, playing their third game in four days, opened the scoring late in the first period on a power-play goal by Derick Brassard and then pulled away in the second when Corey Perry, Ryan O'Reilly, Matt Duchene and Taylor Hall all found the net.
O'Reilly, Mark Stone and Michael Matheson completed the rout while Canadian goalie Cam Talbot stopped 13 shots for his first shutout of the tournament.
Canada, who have outscored opponents 20-2 in three games, will next face Germany on Thursday.
"There’s a lot of offense, there’s a lot of skill, there’s a lot of youth." Canada captain Corey Perry said. "I’ve said this since Day One: we’re excited to be here, put this jersey on, and play for our country."
Undefeated Finland kept pace with Canada after a 3-2 win over a United States team that have lost two games and are now fourth in eight-team Group B where the top four teams advance to the quarter-finals.
The Americans did well to come back from an early two-goal deficit but Leo Komarov's tally with the man advantage early in the third period held up as the game winner.
With Russia celebrating Nazi Germany's defeat in World War Two, Artemi Panarin powered the home team with two goals and two assists while Sergei Bobrovski stopped all 27 shots he faced.
The win was the second of the tournament for Russia, who are second in Group A with six points.
"It was our best game so far," said Russian forward Sergei Shirokov. "This day (Victory Day) is in all our hearts, not just for Russian hockey players but for everyone in Russia."
In other Group A action, the Czech Republic stormed back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to earn a 4-2 win over Sweden.
Michal Birner capped a three-goal second period for the Czech Republic with the eventual game-winner about two minutes before the intermission. Birner added another late in the third.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)