Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist to lead Canada to a 2-1 victory over the United States last night in Montreal in the World Cup of Hockey opener for both teams.
The game was fast-paced and full of hard hitting, and featured stellar play by Canada goaltender Martin Brodeur and U.S. counterpart Robert Esche.
It took little time for the teams to show signs of the heated rivalry that has peaked since Canada beat the United States in the gold medal game of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.
Canada's 38-year-old captain, Mario Lemieux, went after Steve Konowalchuk when the American forward ran into Brodeur. Both teams also lost players to injuries, as defenseman Ed Jovanovski was knocked out of Canada's lineup, and the United States was without forward Mike Modano for most of the game. Joe Sakic also scored for Canada, which controlled the game at both ends of the ice for the first 25 minutes before the United States took back the momentum.
Bill Guerin scored for the United States, which beat Canada, 5-2, in the final of the inaugural World Cup in 1996.
"They came out hungrier than we were, way more intense," U.S. Coach Ron Wilson said. "Fortunately, Robert Esche was on top of things. . . . We needed our goaltender to keep us in there." Canada will play its second game of the round robin portion of the eight-team tournament tonight against Slovakia in Montreal. The United States will play Russia tomorrow night in St. Paul, Minn.
Meantime, Mats Sundin had a goal and two assists and Washington Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig had a long night as Sweden beat Germany, 5-2, in the opener for both in Stockholm. Kolzig stopped 37 of 42 shots. Germany managed just 19 shots on net.
Kim Johnsson, Marcus Nilsson and Frederik Modin also scored second-period goals for Sweden. Tomas Holmstrom put Sweden ahead with a power-play goal in the opening period.
Markus Naslund and former NHL MVP Peter Forsberg assisted on the goal with a pair of brilliant passes.
Marco Sturm and Daniel Kreutzer scored for Germany.
-- From News Services