The ice used to be the home turf for the Russians in the Winter Olympics. For many years, they dominated in figure skating and hockey. Yet, this year, they got kicked off their own turf. For the first time ever, they didn’t win a figure skating gold. Now, they won’t even win a hockey medal. Stunning! I wonder how Russia is going to handle that!
In what should have been the Olympics hockey tournament final, Canada faced off against the Russians in the quarter-finals and put on a monumental performance to beat them 7-3. Canada was out to a 3-0 lead before 13 minutes was over, hitting all over and putting huge pressure on the Russian net. The rest was an exciting victory and scoring fest, well, for half the game anyway. The scoring got shut down in the second half of the game, but that was only after 10 goals had been score in the first 32 minutes. When everything was on the line, national pride came through to beat the Russians emphatically!
Canada now await the winner of the Sweden/Slovakia game later tonight for the semi-finals on Friday. The United States beat a game Swiss team 2-0 earlier today to await either the Finns or Czech in the semi-final Friday.
Given how the Canadians have played this tournament, and the awesome line-up of the Russians, I don’t think many thought it was going to be lop-sided, if the Canadians were going to win at all (unless it was out of pride). After losing to the United States on Super Sunday in the round robin, victims of an unearthly performance by US goalie, Ryan Miller, Canada had to play Germany on Tuesday in a qualifying game to get a chance in the quarter-finals against the Russians Wednesday. While the Germans were not expected to be a challenge, it was effort for Canada while the Russians rested. However, the game gave Canada a few much needed tune-ups for this game that they put to good use.
- Canada got a chance to work on their grinding game, which they applied well to pound the Russians with many a hard body checks tonight right from the get go.
- Canada got a chance to pocket a few goals and get their scoring touch back.
It’s not that they improved their scoring skills in that game, but it’s just nice to be able to score freely in a game environment and get the mentality back. It showed tonight
Canada came out hitting with a crusher by Shea Weber on Ilya Kovalchuk, followed by quick scoring from Ryan Getzlaf just 2:21 into the game. Ryan scored on Russian starting goalie Evgeni Nabokov after a pass by Dan Boyle who had gained the zone. Chris Pronger drew the other assist.
Canada led 1-0
That pressure from the start was kept up throughout the game, though, as the Canadians were constantly buzzing around the Russian net, outshooting them 21-12 in the first period and 42-28 overall. The 21 shots were the most by a Canadian team in a period in the Olympics.
The first penalty came to Canada, on a figure skating worthy spinning dive by Captain Alexei Morozov after being touched by Brent Seabrook. It called by American referee Denis Leroux from way out in the neutral zone. The Canadians killed it off easily enough, with a bonus cruncher on Alexander Ovechkin by Drew Doughty, to avoid losing momentum. However, when Russia’s Anton Volchenkov got a holding penalty next, Dan Boyle scored on the power play at 12:09 on a beautiful passing play from San Jose Sharks teammates Danny Heatley and Patrick Marleau.
Canada led 2-0
Just 46 seconds later, at 12:55, the Russians turned the puck over as Canada came out on a two on one rush. Fed by Mike Richards, Jonathan Toews had the puck and fed Rick Nash, who put it past Nabokov. The crowd, already in a frenzy, went absolutely crazy, prompting Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov to call a time out.
Canada led 3-0
Smart move, because not long after came the first Russian goal. Dmitri Kalinin scored the first Russian goal by a defencemen of the tournament on a screened shot from Anton Volchenkov. Kalinin shot it past Canadian goalie Robert Luongo’s high glove side at 14:39. Sergei Federov got the other assist.
Canada led 3-1
Canada never lost the momentum, though, as they got back at putting pressure on the Russians right away. It didn’t even take four minutes to pay off as Brendan Morrow walked out from behind the Russian net to jam a back hand through Nabokov at 18:18. Russian centre Sergei Zinovyev, who has a bad knee slightly exaggerated a few days back to be potentially 6 months to heal, had not being able to keep up with Morrow on the play. Dan Boyle got his third point of the period to assist on the goal, while Duncan Keith also got an assist.
Canada led 4-1
The Russians did not choose to replace Evgeni Nabokov to start the second period despite his four goals allowed on 21 shots in the first period. That was the fatal error to blow the game for the Russians as Canada quickly potted a few more goals on him early in the second period.
Cory Perry scored on Canada’s first shot in the second period at 3:10. Ryan Getzlaf’s shot deflected to him and he caught Nabokov still reacting to the deflected shot. Duncan Keith also assisted on his second consecutive goal.
Canada led 5-1
Less than a minute later, at 4:07, Shea Weber blasted one past Nabokov from the above the right face-off circle. It was assisted by Jonathan Teows and Jarome Iginla.
Canada led 6-1
That chased Nabokov for back-up Ilya Bryzgalov, who didn’t end up faring much better. However, the goalie change gave the Russians an immediate spark. On a couple of passes from Ilya Kovalchuk and Denis Grebeshkov, Maxim Afinogenov burst past Duncan Keith just half a minute later, and scored on Luongo at 4:46.
Canada led 6-2
As before, Canada picked up the intensity immediately, refusing to let the Russian gather any momentum. After five minutes of intense play, Russian centre Zinovyev made a terrible turn over at centre ice. Eric Staal capitalized it to feed Ryan Getzlaf, who then fed Corey Perry to blast a zinger on Bryzgalov at 9:51.
Canada led 7-2
A too many men on the ice penalty at 11:27 gave the Russians an opportunity to stop the flood, and that they promptly did. Sergei Gonchar, on a pass from Evgeni Malkin, put a shot past a screened Luongo at 11:40. However, they could not get anything more.
Canada led 7-3
Despite the four goal lead, a critical hooking penalty by Duncan Keith ended a period on a somewhat uncomfortable note for the Canadians. Four goals isn’t necessarily a safe lead given the star fire power on that Russian line-up. However, the Russians were not able to get anything.
Shots were 10-8 for Canada, leaving it 30-20 after two periods.
The Russians started the third period on the power play, but nothing became of it except a little frustration. Not long after the penalty expired, Volchenko knocked Eric Staal hard into the boards as Eric went to get the puck behind the Canadian goal line. Staal was not touching the puck at the time, but neither interference nor boarding was called. Staal was down for several minutes, but was able to get off the ice on his own.
Sticking up for Canadian pride, Canadian style, Ryan Getzlaf didn’t take long to lay out Volchenkov on a clean hit just minutes later.
Russia then got a too many men on the ice penalty, but Canada was not able to capitalize on it. The pressure Canada put on the Russians up to this point was still present to a reasonable amount, but things got relatively quiet after this. Well, anything is relatively quiet after 10 goals in the first 32 minutes!
To credit, the Russians did play through the third period, but Roberto Luongo stepped up as well. So despite the effort, Russia did worse on the scoreboard in the third period than the others.
Canada wins 7-3
Shots were 12-8 for Canada in the third, leaving the final 42-28 for Canada.
Drew Doughty shadowed Alexander Ovechkin all night, and shut him down just he like on Jan 2 when he played Ovechkin in the NHL. They each played 26:47 that night, where Drew was a +1 and Ovechkin was a -1 without points. Drew made Alexander the Great into Alexander the Late, cause OV never arrived in the game. His only statistical contribution was serving a 2 minute penalty for too many men on the ice at 5:11 of the third period… and a -2 in the game. OV did get hit in the hand oddly by a wrist shot in the 12th minute of the third period, though, but that only limited him for 7 of the 60 minutes.
To be fair, Sidney Crosby was also “absent”. But you know, Sid wouldn’t care, being the team guy that he is.
First Period Scoring
CAN — Ryan Getzlaf (Dan Boyle, Chris Pronger) — 2:21
CAN — Dan Boyle (Danny Heatley, Patrick Marleau) — 12:09 (PP)
CAN — Rick Nash (Jonathan Toews, Mike Richards) — 12:55
RUS — Dmitri Kalinin (Anton Volchenkov, Sergei Federov) — 14:39
CAN — Brendan Morrow (Dan Boyle, Duncan Keith) — 18:18
Second Period Scoring
CAN — Corey Perry (Ryan Getzlaf, Duncan Keith) — 3:10
CAN — Shea Weber (Jonathan Toews, Jarome Iginla) — 4:07
RUS — Maxim Afinogenov (Ilya Kovalchuk, Denis Grebeshkov) — 4:46
CAN — Corey Perry (Ryan Getzlaf, Eric Staal) — 9:51
RUS — Sergei Gonchar (Evgeni Malkin) — 11:40
Third Period Scoring
None (what happened to all the scoring???)
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 9.6