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Crosby, Canada feeling confident

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POSTED February 13, 2014 8:08 p.m.

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Sidney Crosby is pretty sure Canada shook off all of its jet lag in its Olympic hockey opener.

The captain thinks the star-studded tournament favorites can really get to work when they get right back on the ice again today.

Canada and Sweden both can move into commanding position for a spot in the Olympic men’s hockey quarterfinals with victories on the third day of competition at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

Canada faces Austria in its second game in two nights, while Sweden returns against Switzerland. Finland is hoping to have captain Teemu Selanne in the lineup when it takes on Norway, and Jaromir Jagr leads the Czech Republic against Latvia in the early game.

In its opener against the Norwegians, Canada started a bit slowly before dominating the final two periods of a 3-1 victory. The Canadians’ skill and depth were on full display, even if their teamwork still needs fine-tuning.

“It’s not easy. Every team here is good,” Crosby said. “We know we have to get better as things go on, but I thought (in the) second and third period, we definitely got to our game a lot more.”

After Carey Price earned his first Olympic victory with 19 saves against Norway, Canada turns to Roberto Luongo against the Austrians. Price will get the entire night off, with Mike Smith backing up the gold medal-winning Luongo.

Sweden hopes to build on its 4-2 win over the Czech Republic when it faces the tough Swiss, but captain Henrik Zetterberg’s health is uncertain. The Red Wings star, who scored a goal against the Czechs, sat out Thursday’s practice with a flare-up of the herniated disk that’s been bothering him recently in Detroit.

Switzerland won its opener against Latvia on a last-minute goal from Simon Moser and a shutout by Jonas Hiller. Calgary’s Reto Berra is expected to start in goal against Sweden for the Swiss, who apparently will save Hiller for their final game in group play.

Selanne played just one period in the first game of his record-tying sixth Olympics on Thursday before leaving with an upper-body injury. The Finnish Flash is expected to be fine for the rest of the tournament, and his team could need his scoring touch against a Norwegian team that tested mighty Canada early and got solid goaltending from Lars Haugen.

The veteran-laden Czechs need a better start to avoid another loss when they face Latvia, which must attempt to rebound from that painful defeat against the Swiss. Jagr scored a goal in his fifth Olympics in the Czechs’ opener.

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