Canada remains in control of its own destiny at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Dion Phaneuf scored twice and Devan Dubnyk stopped all 24 shots he faced Saturday as Canada cruised to a comfortable 8-0 victory over Kazakhstan.
The team sits in the driver’s seat in the Helsinki pool and can clinch the top seed with a victory in its final round robin game against Belarus on Tuesday. After that, it will need three straight victories to claim the country’s first world championship gold since 2007.
Corey Perry, Alex Burrows, Evander Kane, John Tavares, Teddy Purcell and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored on a night where the offence was spread around for Canada (5-0-1). Duncan Keith and Ryan Getzlaf each added three assists.
Kazakhstan saw its record fall to 0-5-1 and will be relegated to the lower level Group A world championship next year.
Canada managed to avoid a big letdown one day after an emotional 5-3 victory over the host Finns — although the goals did not come quickly against a Kazak team that dressed just 18 skaters because of injuries.
Kazakhstan managed to kill a penalty and keep Canada off the scoresheet for the first 15 minutes. Phaneuf got things started on the second man advantage with a hard slapshot that beat Vitali Kolesnik at 15:45 to make it 1-0.
However, the Kazaks didn’t go away — testing Dubnyk with 10 shots in the second period. Defender Roman Savchenko had a glorious chance to tie the game with the Canadian goalie down and out, but he fired high with the team’s best scoring chance of the night.
Shortly after that, Perry gave Canada a little breathing room with a nice wraparound goal at 12:05 before Jordan Eberle earned a painful assist. He was hammered by Vladislav Kolesnikov in the neutral zone, but had the puck end up on the stick of Burrows, who scored at 17:03 to make it 3-0.
The game turned into a rout in the final 20 minutes.
Early goals 50 seconds apart by Kane, Tavares and Purcell chased Kolesnik from the net before Phaneuf got his second goal of the night at 5:53 against backup Vitali Yeremeyev.
From there, Dubnyk managed to shut the door and earned his first ever shutout at the world championship.
Notes: Canadian forward Ryan O’Reilly sat out with a minor injury … The Kazakhstan roster features four players who were part of the country’s upset victory over Canada at the 1998 world junior tournament … Kazak forward Konstantin Pushkarev is a former second-round pick by Los Angeles who has appeared in 17 career NHL games … Kazakhstan called a timeout in the final minute of the game after getting awarded a 5-on-3 power play … Announced attendance was 4,151.