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Canada loses to France

As Canadian hockey fans struggle to come to grips with a stunning 3-2 shootout loss to plucky France at the World Hockey Championship on Friday, one question keeps cropping up on Twitter.

French goaltender Cristobal Huet still plays hockey?

He does indeed, and he played very well against the Canadians in their opening contest at the 2014 World Hockey Championship tournament in Minsk, Belarus. Huet stopped 34 of 36 shots and was perfect in overtime and the shootout to secure the win for the upstart French on Friday.

The 38-year-old Huet, who last played in the National Hockey League as a member of the Stanley Cup-winning Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, has been playing in Switzerland since the Blackhawks cut ties with him following their 2009-10 season. Huet had fallen out of favour during those playoffs and spent most of his time on the bench.

But he had a starring role on Friday with some key stops against Canada, including a glorious glove save against the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Morgan Reilly.

Huet’s play sparked a number of astonished and amused responses from hockey fans on social media.

France is hardly known for its tradition of hockey excellence, but this year’s team does have some NHL talent. Apart from Huet, who spent seven seasons playing for the Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings, France also has Dallas Stars tough guy Antoine Roussel and Ottawa Senators minor-leaguer Stephane Da Costa in the lineup.

Da Costa has never played a full season in the NHL, but he was one of France’s best players on Friday, scoring both French goals to push the game to overtime.

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ James Reimer was in net for Canada and made 26 saves in the loss.

It’s just the second time in history that Canada has lost to France in hockey. The last defeat came nearly 20 years ago in 1995.

Canada has six games remaining in the round robin at the 2014 World Hockey Championship. Their next opponent is Slovakia on Saturday.

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