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Any thought of a German upset was quickly put to rest by Canada in men's hockey Thursday at Palasport Olimpico.

Looking more relaxed than during Wednesday's 7-2 rout of host Italy, the Canadians beat Germany 5-1 in Group A play to remain undefeated in the preliminary round.

"We're still getting our feet underneath us and dealing with the jet lag and all that," said defenceman Chris Pronger. "I think we'll have a lot more jump come Saturday [against Switzerland].

"We've all been playing a lot of minutes in the NHL and you come over here on the bigger ice surface and all that, it just takes a little time to get adjusted to your surroundings."

It was hardly a surprise that Germany kept the score close for most of the game. Renowned for their tight-checking style, the Germans nearly upset Canada at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics in Provo, Utah.

On Thursday, the Canadians were able to solve Germany's 1-4 defence that seemed to frustrate the Czechs a day earlier. By lining up four defenders across their blue-line, the Germans make it difficult for opposing teams to penetrate the offensive zone.

Simon Gagne had a goal and assist to lead Canada, which outshot Germany 40-12.

Wade Redden, Joe Sakic, Dany Heatley and Shane Doan scored Canada's other goals, while Christian Ehrhoff had Germany's lone tally.

The game turned in Canada's favour early and in an unusual way.

Goaltender Roberto Luongo, who started in place of No. 1 man Martin Brodeur, came out of his net to clear the puck, but forward Lasse Kopitz intercepted his attempt.

With an apparent open net, a sliding Adam Foote, who covered for Luongo on the play, robbed the German.

On the ensuing rush, defencemen Wade Redden converted a 2-on-1 with Gagne as he beat German netminder Thomas Greiss at 4:52 of the first period to give Canada a 1-0 lead.

Greiss, who plays for Krefeld Pinguine in the German Elite League, was a surprise starter.

Olaf Kolzig, a 13-year veteran with the Washington Capitals, looked sharp in Wednesday's 4-1 loss to the Czech Republic but was rested by coach Uwe Krupp for games this weekend against Italy and Switzerland.

Greiss, a San Jose Sharks prospect, allowed three goals on nine first-period shots before settling down to turn away 17 shots in the middle frame.

Predictably, the German's style of play caused them to take a number of penalties but Canada managed to convert just one of eight power-play chances.

That came when captain Joe Sakic banged home a rebound at 7:29 of the first period after Greiss stopped Rick Nash's initial shot.

Gagne put the game out of reach midway through the period when he outworked a German defender and slid a loose puck past Greiss.

But Canada paid for a lacklustre start to the second period as Ehrhoff beat Luongo on a wrist shot from the top of the slot at 9:13 to make it 3-1.

Germany later killed off a two-man Canadian advantage for 1:42 in which Greiss excelled, but it couldn't build off that momentum.

The CBC will carry Saturday's game against Switzerland at 9:30 a.m. EST.

Switzerland upset the Czechs 3-2 on Thursday, thanks to a stellar effort by David Aebischer in net.

"[All the Olympic teams] play hard and they play harder against Canada," Canadian forward Brad Richards said. "We're not going to take that game off and pretend it's a practice."

with files from Canadian Press
 
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