USA blasts Russia in hockey World Championships quarterfinals

Paul Stastny (second from left) celebrates with teammates after scoring Team USA's first goal.(Getty Images)
Paul Stastny (second from left) celebrates with teammates after scoring Team USA's first goal. (Getty Images)

Paul Stastny's two goals and Craig Smith's record-breaking five assists led Team USA to a stunning 8-3 victory over Russia in the quarterfinals of the hockey World Championship in Helsinki, Finland.

Smith's five assists set the American record for assists in a game and fell just one shy of the tournament record.

The result was something of a surprise, especially given that the Alex Ovechkin-led Russian squad defeated the Americans 5-3 in the preliminary round.

Team USA built an early 4-1 lead, and Russia was never able to get closer than a two-goal deficit. Russia's Alexander Perezhogin scored a power play goal in the third period to pull within 5-3, but the Americans answered with a power play goal of their own to regain a three-goal lead.

Two more American goals made it a rout.

Team USA now moves to the semifinals Saturday in Stockholm where they will face the winner of Switzerland and the Czech Republic. A win there and the Americans move to the gold medal game and will be guaranteed a medal -- their first at the World Championships since a bronze in '04 and only their second in the past 50 years.

If they lose this weekend they will play for a bronze.

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