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U.S., Canada woes continue

Daniel Alfredsson had a first-period goal and then helped set up Mikael Samuelsson's tiebreaker in the third as Sweden handed the United States its second 2-1 loss in two days.

The Americans' offense was so woeful it made the absence of Swedish star forward Peter Forsberg, who watched the game from the end of the bench, meaningless.

Rick DiPietro was solid in his third straight start in the U.S. goal, making 24 saves for the U.S. He stood tall in the net, turning aside odd-man rushes, shooting the puck out of trouble, and stretching to reach pucks sailing toward the goal.

Yet the two he couldn't get to were enough to prevent the United States (1-2-1) from locking up a berth in the men's hockey quarterfinals - though the U.S. remains a near-certain qualifier for medal play. Sweden (3-1), Russia and Slovakia, which beat the U.S. 2-1 on Saturday, have already qualified out of Group B.

With only one preliminary game remaining, the United States is fourth of six teams and holds a two-point lead over Latvia. The only way for the Americans to be left out would be a loss to Russia coupled with a Latvian victory over Kazakhstan in which the Latvians scored enough to overcome a 14-goal differential with the Americans.

Only Mike Modano found the goal against Henrik Lundqvist. Special teams proved to be the difference on both ends, as the U.S. went 0-for-5 on the power play and failed to convert two 5-on-3 advantages.

Lightning goalie John Grahame started the opening tie against Latvia but hasn't seen the ice since. Robert Esche dressed as DiPietro's backup versus Sweden.

Finland 2, Canada 0

Teemu Selanne scored his sixth goal in four games and Finland stayed unbeaten in preliminary play, handing gold-medal favorite Canada its second shutout loss in as many days.

The flying Finns (4-0) overcame Canada's physicality and size advantage with excellent puck movement, transitional play and a strong game in net by Antero Niittymaki, who made 24 saves.

By winning, Finland secured the top spot in Group A and will play the fourth-place team from Group B in the quarterfinals, almost certainly the United States (1-2-1).

Niko Kapanen also scored during a two-goal Finn first period. Canada outshot Finland 19-16 over the final two periods after trailing 12-2 in shots late in the first period.

Canada has taken 73 shots in its last two games, but has not scored since the final minute of its 5-1 win over Germany on Thursday. The fact that scorers such as Joe Sakic, Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Rick Nash and Tampa Bay's Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis can't get the puck in the net has been perplexing.

Canada had not been shut out in consecutive Olympic games since it failed to score in its final three games in 1984.

This game effectively meant little - both teams are moving on from Group A to the quarterfinals that start Wednesday, and all that matters is positioning. Slovakia (4-0) leads Group B, but Russia (3-1) has won three in a row and Sweden (3-1) beat Canada in 2002, so finishing first or last might not make much difference.

Czech Republic 4, Italy 1

The Lightning's Vinny Prospal scored a hat trick as the Czech Republic grabbed a spot in the medal round.

Colorado forward Milan Hejduk scored midway through the first period before Prospal had his first goal 1:23 later and scored in the second period. Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun made 15 saves for the Czechs (2-2), who had lost two straight.

After Italy's John Parco scored with 2:07 left in the game, Prospal scored an empty-net goal to notch the hat trick.

The Czechs welcomed back Jaromir Jagr, the New York Rangers star who leads the NHL in scoring. He played with nine stitches in his forehead and above his left ear after being cut by a vicious check into the boards by Finland's Jarkko Ruutu on Saturday. Jagr did not play in the third period.

Germany 2, Switzerland 2

Tino Boos scored the tying goal in the third period and Germany, ranked below Switzerland in the world rankings, pulled off the surprise tie that followed Swiss upsets of gold medal favorite Canada and the world champion Czech Republic.

The tie assures the Swiss of advancing to the quarterfinals but may have dulled some of their upset-driven momentum.

"Unfortunately, we didn't play as good as we did the previous two games, but we were able to get the point that allows us to go into the quarterfinals," said goalie David Aebischer, who made 26 saves.

Slovakia 2, Kazakhstan 1

Pavol Demitra led a 3-on-1 break to set up Marian Hossa's go-ahead goal in the third period and unbeaten Slovakia played barely well enough to edge winless Kazakhstan 2-1.

Slovakia has beaten Russia, the United States, Latvia and Kazakhstan, with Sweden (3-1) left to play on Tuesday. Are the Slovaks positioning themselves for a gold medal run?

"It's a little bit too early for that," Demitra said. "There are still a lot of surprises left in this tournament."

Russia 9, Latvia 2

Ilya Kovalchuk scored four times - his first goals of these Olympics - and Russia advanced to the men's hockey final eight with its victory over Latvia. After dropping the opener to Slovakia 5-3, Russia has won three straight by a combined score of 15-2.

Kovalchuk scored twice in each of the first two periods.

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