MINSK, Belarus -- Defending champion Sweden made the first step in its title defence with a 3-0 victory over Denmark at the ice hockey world championship on Saturday. Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund scored twice in the opening period when the Swedes displayed fast, well organized play that was tough for Denmark to match. "It was nice to have a few goals right away, keep the pressure off and the nerves away," Backlund said. Another Scandinavian superpower, Finland, began its campaign with an upset 3-2 loss to Latvia and Norway blanked Italy 3-0 while Germany prevailed in a shootout to beat Kazakhstan 2-1. Backlund scored his first for Sweden when defenceman Markus Lauridsen deflected his shot to the net with his skate and struck again by precisely directing Joakim Lindstroms slap shot. Detroit Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist added the third on a solo effort after intercepting a pass. "Once we got up two to nothing we stopped taking the puck to the net," Nyquist said. "We tried to make too many passes instead of shooting the puck." Latvia failed to capitalize on its second-period power plays when a total of seven Finns were in the penalty box. Finland used its only power play in that period to go 2-1 up with a goal by Petri Kontiola. Kristaps Sotnieks tied the match for Latvia -- the quarterfinalist in the Sochi Winter Olympics -- in the third before Arturs Kulda netted the winner on a power play. It was the first victory for Latvia over Finland at the worlds. Thomas Oppenheimer scored the decisive goal in the shootout to give Germany the win. Germany outshot its opponent 47-20 but Kazakhstan went ahead 1-0 after a goal from Andrei Gavrilin. The Germans answered through Matthias Plachta at the end of the first period. "I have to look at the positive," German coach Pat Cortina said. "We put the puck to the net and that is extremely important for our team." Niklas Roest opened the scoring in the first period for Norway, Morten Ask made it 2-0 midway through the game and captain Anders Bastiansen rounded off the victory on a breakaway in the third. "I tried to shoot early to surprise the goalie and it went in, so I was really happy," Bastiansen said. "We did a good job. We won and thats the most important thing." Goaltender Lars Haugen made 15 saves for the shutout, but needed help from his posts on two shots by defenceman Daniel Sullivan in the second. "We had a little difficulty in the beginning, adjusting to the speed," Italy coach Tom Pokel said. "However, as the game went on we got better and better. So it was a good game for us." Italy and Kazakhstan are both newcomers to the top division this year. Later Saturday, Canada hopes to rebound from Fridays 3-2 loss to France with a win against Slovakia, while the United States faces Switzerland a day after it routed host Belarus 6-1. Cheap Jerseys Free Shipping . Watch the announcement live on TSN.ca at 12:30pm et/9:30am pt. This years honourees will be recognized at the 2014 Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Classic, scheduled for June 23-24 in Vancouver. Cheap Jerseys From China . Jason Zucker and Matt Cooke also scored for Minnesota, which has won five of six. Kuemper made five saves in the first, nine in the second, and nine in the third. The rookies best save came with 2:17 left in the third period when he denied former Wild forward Matt Cullen from just outside of the crease on the right side. https://www.wholesalejerseys2020.com/ .S.-Portugal game on June 22 in the Amazonian jungle city of Manaus. FIFPro, the international soccer players union, had pressed FIFA to avoid the earliest kickoffs in the hottest and most humid weather. Cheap Jerseys 2020 . 5 Trade Deadline isnt that far away and teams will be making decisions on whether to buy, sell and decide which players can make the biggest difference and hold the greatest value. Cheap NFL Jerseys China . Liriano pitched in and out of trouble in his duel with Josh Beckett, and Ike Davis homered to help the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-1 Friday night.OKLAHOMA CITY - Russell Westbrook finally gets to put his fashionable suit collection away.Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after Fridays shootaround that his ultra-athletic point guard will return to action Friday night and start against the New York Knicks.Westbrook, a three-time All-Star, broke a bone in his right hand against the Los Angeles Clippers in the second game of the season, and he hasnt played since. He was reevaluated this week and finally was cleared to play.Im just excited to get back to my game routine, he said. Go home, take my nap — normal things I usually do to get myself prepared for a game. You kind of miss all that stuff when youre sitting on the sideline in a suit. Im about to take all my suits to the cleaners and pick them up at the end of the season.Westbrook averaged 26.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.1 assists in 19 playoff games last season. He was expected to pick up the slack after MVP Kevin Durant broke a bone in his right foot before the season began. Westbrook opened the season with a 38-point effort at Portland before getting hurt against the Los Angeles Clippers. Without the pair, the Thundder won just four of their first 16 games.ddddddddddddEven as the losses piled up, Westbrook felt the team showed determination. The Thunder entered Fridays action fourth in the league in defensive field-goal percentage and fourth in points allowed.They compete, Westbrook said. Weve got a group of guys that compete every night. Regardless of whether we win or lose, we know our guys came out and gave it all we had. They compete. Thats the best thing about our team.Westbrook will wear a brace on the hand.Its cool, he said. Id rather not wear it, but I have to wear it. I got used to it over the past few weeks.Reggie Jackson, who filled in and averages 20.2 points and 7.8 assists, will return to his backup role. Durant is still unavailable, but at least Brooks has one of his stars.Russell has great passion for the game, Brooks said. Hes been a great, tremendous leader for us. He brings toughness, the emotional part, what it takes for a team to be successful. Hes obviously one of the best players in the league, so were all excited to have him back.__Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP . ' ' '