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Team Canada's Dany Heatley was a problem all game for Slovenian goalie Robert Kristan on Friday, scoring three times. ((Mike Dembeck/Canadian Press))

Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators scored three times and added an assist as Canada breezed to a 5-1 win over Slovenia in their opening game of the world men's hockey championship on Friday.

Dan Hamhuis of the Nashville Predators and the Tampa Bay Lightning's Martin St. Louis also scored in the game at Halifax Metro Centre. The tournament is being held in Canada for the first time.

Ryan Getzlaf of the Anaheim Ducks and Rick Nash of the Columbus Blue Jackets each had two assists for Canada.

"We could have had 10 tonight," said Heatley.

Goaltender Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes, playing for Canada for the second straight year, made 20 saves. Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings was the only player to beat Ward.

Slovenian netminder Robert Kristan was heroic in defeat, making a whopping 60 saves.

"I see it's written here 65 shots," said Slovene coach Mats Waltin. "I thought it was 95."

The outcome was never in doubt.

'I was just watching those red jerseys all over the zone.' — Slovenian goalie Robert Kristan

Hamhuis jumped in from the back end and potted a rebound from Heatley's shot to put Canada on the board at the 3:05 mark. Slovenia escaped the period trailing by just one despite being outshot 19-6, with Eric Staal hitting the post for Canada.

The goals started coming for Canada in the second.

Heatley took a cross-ice pass from Getzlaf near the slot and scored just 41 seconds into the period.

"Dany's the same way every night," said Getzlaf. "He's a great hockey player and a great goal-scorer. He find ways to get that puck to the net.

"I got to find ways to put it on his stick, and most of the time Heater'll put it away."

St. Louis scored the first of two Canadian power-play goals in the second with a slapshot from outside the right faceoff circle at almost exactly the midway point of the period.

Kopitar got Slovenia on the board less than two minutes later and they trailed 3-1 despite a 36-12 shot margin.

Kristan made several brilliant saves but was victimized by a soft Heatley shot on a Canadian power play with 5:39 left in the second.

"I was just watching those red jerseys all over the zone," said Kristan.

U.S., Russia, Czechs also post wins

Mike Green of the Washington Capitals nearly made the score 5-1 in the third but hit the post, with Ward foiling Kopitar soon after on a breakaway attempt.

Heatley got his hat trick at 9:35, lifting a backhander over Kristan's right blocker.

Announced attendance was 7,921, roughly 600 short of a sellout.

"It definitely felt like we were at home with the crowd behind us," said Canadian forward Jason Spezza. "They'll get more and more into it as the tournament goes on.

"You have to be respectful to the countries you're playing and we were pressing them quite a bit. I don't think the fans really needed to help us out too much tonight."

Canada will play next on Sunday in Halifax, against Latvia.

Canada is looking for a second consecutive championship, and the fourth in six years.

In other action, the United States blanked Latvia 4-0. Chicago Blackhawks rookie Patrick Kane scored a goal and two assists while Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas earned the shutout.

In Quebec City, Russia romped to a 7-1 win over Italy. Alexander Semin of the Washington Capitals scored twice, with teammate Alexander Ovechkin also scoring.

In the tournament's first game, the Czech Republic downed Denmark 5-2. Radim Vrbata of the Phoenix Coyotes had two goals, while Buffalo Sabre Ales Kotalik and Jan Hejda of the Columbus Blue Jackets also scored. Former NHLer Milan Hnilicka was the winning goaltender.

With files from the Canadian Press