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Tavares scores in OT, rescues Canada after it blows 6-1 lead to Austria at hockey worlds

Team captain John Tavares scored 15 seconds into overtime and saved his teammates some embarrassment as Canada held on for a 7-6 win over Austria on Tuesday at the world hockey championship in Prague.

Tavares ended the extra session quickly, taking the puck from behind centre ice, then skating into the Austrian zone and ripping a shot past goaltender David Madlener.

It was unlikely anyone on the Canadian bench would have thought such heroics would have been necessary after 40 minutes of play. The defending world champions took a 6-1 lead into the third period before Austria exploded for five goals over the final 20 minutes of regulation.

Former Ottawa 67's star Marco Rossi scored the tying goal with 49 seconds left and goaltender David Madlener on the bench for an extra attacker.

Had the Austrians scored in OT, it would have been the biggest comeback in world championship history. It also would have been Austria's first win over Canada at the world championship.

Canada entered the game with an 10-0-1 record and a goal differential of 68-7 in the head-to-head series.

WATCH: Tavares plays OT hero for Canada after scare from Austria:

The last world championship matchup between the nations, also in Prague, was a 10-1 Canadian rout in the 2015 preliminary round.

Connor Bedard scored his fifth goal of the tournament for Canada, which has eight points from three games (two regulation wins, one overtime win) to sit tied with Switzerland atop Group A.

Tavares, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kaiden Guhle each had a goal and an assist while Dylan Cozens, Bowen Byram and Jared McCann also scored for Canada. Jordan Binnington struggled in goal, allowing five goals on nine shots in the third period and six on 21 shots overall.