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Sean Leahy

Sunday's Three Stars: Rafalski, Malkin net two; Swedish shutout

Sean Leahy
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No. 1 Star: Brian Rafalski(notes), USA

The American defender was the star offensive player in the 5-3 win over Canada. Rafalski's goal 41 seconds into the game stunned the home crowd at Canada Hockey Place and his second of the game came 22 seconds after Eric Staal(notes) had tied the game at one. A little over seven minutes into the third period, Jamie Langenbrunner(notes) deflected a Rafalski shot from the point for the eventual game-winning goal that put the Americans up 4-2. The win clinches Group A and gives the US a bye into the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

No. 2 Star: Evgeni Malkin(notes), Russia

On a line with Alex Ovechkin(notes) and Alexander Semin(notes), Malkin benefited greatly as Russia rebounded from their shootout loss to Slovakia on Thursday night with a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic. Malkin opened the scoring on the power play late in the first period pouncing on a loose puck outside the crease and just getting enough on it to put it past Czech goaltender Tomas Vokoun(notes). His second goal came as part of a memorable sequence from the game after Ovechkin laid a hit on Jaromir Jagr(notes) at center ice, giving the Russians a 3-1 lead early in the third period. Russia advances to the quarterfinals and now awaits the winner of the Canada/Germany qualification game.

No. 3 Star: Henrik Lundqvist(notes), Sweden

The defending Olympic champions remained undefeated in group play as Lundqvist posted his second shutout of the tournament with a 3-0 win over Finland. Loui Eriksson's(notes) two power play goals along with Nicklas Backstrom's(notes) goal and two assists led the way in a rematch of the 2006 gold medal game in Torino. Lundqvist made 20 saves and has yet to allow a goal in the tournament. The Swedes advance to the quarterfinals and take on either Slovakia or Norway.

Honorable mention: The Prophet Ryan Kesler and his all-out hustle to score the empty-net goal against Canada ... Evgeni Nabokov(notes) made 23 saves for his second win of these Olympics ... Ryan Miller(notes) was the man for the Americans, stopping 42 shots and improving his round robin record to 3-0. It's his net the rest of the way for the US.

Did you know? Brian Rafalski and Dany Heatley(notes) are tied for the Olympic lead in goals with four.

Dishonorable mention: Outside of the shootout against Switzerland, Martin Brodeur(notes) has not looked good this tournament, giving Mike Babcock something to think about heading to Canada's game against Germany ... Joni Pitkanen(notes) of Finland will be suspended one game for receiving a game misconduct and being ejected for a check to the head of Patric Hornqvist(notes) of Sweden.

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