PARIS — Canada rallied to beat France 3-2 on Thursday night in the world hockey championship, breaking a tie early in the third period when the puck deflected past goalie Florian Hardy off French teammate Jonathan Janil.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic was credited with the goal.
“The crowd was great,” Canadian defenseman Jason Demers said. “It was great to see them push that hard. It’ll help us in the long run. A little adversity helped us, being down, and I thought we did a great job of coming together and holding strong.”
The defending champion Canadians (4-0) tied it at 2 on Claude Giroux’s power-play goal late in the second period.
Canada’s Ryan O’Reilly opened the scoring on a power in the first period. France’s Olivier Dame-Malka tied it in the first, and Damien Fleury gave France the lead on a power play early in the second.
Hardy made 32 saves, and Canada’s Chad Johnson stopped 22 shots.
“They’re tenacious,” Johnson said. “They’ve got an NHL style. They’re hard on the puck. They defend really well, too. They don’t seem to get flustered or lose their composure, even with the score or how we control the play. They really stick together and generate a little bit of scoring chances too. They keep it simple.”
Canada’s Jeff Skinner was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for a spear on Hardy in the third. Dame-Malka also was penalized for high-sticking.
Bidding for a third straight world title and a record-equaling 27th overall, Canada leads Group B with 12 points. The Canadians are three points ahead of Switzerland and five clear of third-place Czech Republic and fourth-place Norway — separated on goal difference. Finland is fifth, and France sixth.
The Czech Republic beat Norway 1-0 on Jan Kovar’s overtime goal.
“It’s always hard for the boys playing a team like that when you have chances and can’t score,” Czech goalie Pavel Francouz said. “Norway played good defense. They played hard and their goalie played well.”
In Group A in Cologne, Germany, Russia scored three goals in a 1:10 span in the second period in a 3-0 victory over Denmark. Bogdan Kiselevich, Sergei Plotnikov and Nikita Gusev scored for Russia.
“We had to be patient for the first half of the game,” forward Nikita Kucherov said. “Maybe at times we played too much like individuals. We thought it was going to be like the game against Italy, but Denmark’s a decent team.”
Gabriel Landeskog and Elias Lindholm scored, and Eddie Lack made 19 saves in Sweden’s 2-0 victory over Latvia.
“We played well and our goalie was really good,” Swedish forward Wlliam Nylander said. “This is was a big three points for us tonight. Latvia is a tough team.”
Russia leads the group with 11 points, with the second-place United States and third-place Latvia two points behind and separated by goal difference. Sweden is fourth with seven points.
The top four from each group will advance to the quarterfinals.