Minsk, Belarus (SportsNetwork.com) - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored the lone goal of the shootout and former NHL goaltender Cristobal Huet was brilliant throughout, as France pulled off a 3-2 victory over Canada to open the 2014 World Hockey Championship.
Stephane da Costa scored a pair of power-play goals for the French, who also came up with a stunner in last year's World Championship with a 2-1 victory over Russia.
Huet, a two-time All-Star who last played in the NHL as a backup with the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, finished with 34 saves. He turned aside Kyle Turris, Sean Monahan and Matt Read in the shootout.
The French also came up empty on their first two attempts in the shootout, including a miss by da Costa, but Bellemare snapped a shot from slot over James Reimer's blocker into the upper corner for the winner.
Reimer stopped 26 shots through 65 minutes for Canada, which lost for just the second time in 10 all-time meetings with France at the World Championship. The Canadians won Olympic gold earlier this year in Sochi, but haven't captured gold at the worlds since 2007.
Brayden Schenn and Erik Gudbranson scored goals for Canada.
Also Thursday, Russia eased past Switzerland in its opener with a 5-0 rout. Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves in the shutout, while Alexander Ovechkin notched a goal and an assist.
Ovechkin scored one of three first-period goals for the Russians, who are trying to better their disappointing fifth-place Olympic effort.