Canada handles Italy in worlds opener

MANNHEIM, Germany -- Chris Mason made 23 saves, and Steve Stamkos, Rene Bourque and Matt Duchene each had a goal and an assist to help 24-time champion Canada beat Italy 5-1 on Saturday in its world hockey championship opener.

"Overall, we did some things well," Stamkos said. "But we have things to improve on: Making smarter plays with the puck, getting pucks in, going in on the forecheck instead of making those pretty plays."

Corey Perry opened the scoring in the Group B game at 2:43 of the first period. Michele Strazzabosco tied it 10 minutes later, and Kris Russell gave Canada a 2-1 lead with 48 seconds left in the period.

Duchene scored 5 minutes into the second period, and Stamkos made it 4-1 5 minutes later. Bourque completed the scoring with less than 3 minutes to play.

"It's difficult when you're playing with some great players. You want to make some good plays," Stamkos said. "But at the end of the day, when we scored, it was getting pucks to the net, getting traffic in front, getting some dirty goals."

In another Group B game, Switzerland beat Latvia 3-1. In Group D, Denmark downed Finland 4-1. Frans Nielsen scored twice for Denmark.