2015 World Hockey Championships

Close call: Canadians edge France to remain undefeated at Worlds

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For the second consecutive year the Canadians struggled with France at the World Hockey Championship.

Last year France shocked Canada with a shootout victory in the tournament opener.

On Saturday the Canadians managed to hang on for a 4-3 victory despite a late rally by the French.

With the win, Canada has secured a spot in the quarterfinal.

“It seems like every year there’s a game where you’re in a real fight to get the puck in the net,” said Jordan Eberle per IIHF.com. “You have to find a way to win, and today we did that with our power play.”

Tyler Seguin scored twice and Eberle had the other as the Canadians lead 3-1 after 40 minutes.

Yorick Treille and Damien Fleury scored third period goals 35 seconds apart tying it 3-3.

Eberle’s second of the game less than three minutes later stood to be the winner, as the Canadians remain undefeated at the tournament following a fifth straight victory.

Canada’s next game comes Sunday against Switzerland.

Kovalchuk to captain Russians at Worlds

Ilya Kovalchuk will captain the Russian national team at the World Hockey Championships, which begins Friday in the Czech Republic.

Kovalchuk said coach Oleg Znarok gave him the captaincy role on Tuesday.

The 32-year-old, who left the NHL in 2013 to join SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL, last participated at a World Championship in 2013 where he had eight goals and 13 points in eight games as Russia finished sixth.

A knee injury forced Kovalchuk to miss last year’s tournament.

Kovalchuk has captained the Russians previously, but was overlooked in favor of Pavel Datsyuk at last year’s Olympics in Sochi.

Related: NBCSN to air every Team USA game at Worlds

Report: Eichel invited to join Team USA at Worlds

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Jack Eichel and Jimmy Vesey are hoping to join Team USA at next month’s World Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic.

Eichel is of course expected to be one of the top two picks at June’s NHL Draft. The 2015 Hobey Baker winner led Boston University to the final of the frozen four where they fell 4-3 to Providence on Saturday.

Vesey, a third-round pick of the Nashville Predators (66th overall in 2012), just completed his third year at Harvard.

Meanwhile, TSN’s Ryan Rishaug reports Tyler Ennis and Cody Eakin are both headed overseas to represent Canada at the tournament.

Ennis has represented Canada internationally at the Under-20 tournament while it’ll be Eakin’s first time playing for Team Canada.

Rishaug also reports Ryan Johansen, Logan Couture and Jamie Benn have declined invites from Hockey Canada.