What’s the adage? Good goaltending and timely goals? The Americans were outshot by a two-to-one margin, 45-22. They won a serious battle here. Give ’em credit.
19:15 — RYAN KESLER. Of all people. Jumps around Corey Perry with a brilliant effort to score the empty netter. There’s some bad blood here.
16:51 — Ryan Miller, who barring injury is a Vezina candidate, stonewalls Nash and scrambles back to stop Perry—only to have Sidney Crosby score a one-toucher on a pass beautiful play. 4-3, hold onto your hats (and consider the PP fixed, until the next brutal one).
14:56 — The Americans are doing a nice job covering their lead, and unless Canada fixes its power play they need not worry about this penalty to Erik Johnson.
10:99 — Kesler, a Vancouver Canuck who was quoted yesterday saying he “hated” the Canadians, just took a silly run at Crosby; this is a chance they should not be giving the Canadian power play. Ron Wilson looks mad.
7:09 — The insurance marker is a deflection by Jamie Langenbrunner, on a point shot by Rafalski. What a game for the mobile fireplug. The crowd is doing its best here, but I see a lot of people with their hands on their laps. And I’m hearing boos.
6:05 — Corey Perry for slashing. The Americans came out with some fire in their bellies in this period, and Canada is letting them initiate the play.
2:50 — Drew Doughty may have just saved goal; then he blocked a shot and cleared the puck.
Crosby takes an o-zone penalty two minutes in. Frustration setting in?
Toews had 11:26 of ice time in the first two periods, tops among Canadian forwards; Crosby was next with 10:59.
A little inspiration for the home boys: gold medallists Alex Bilodeau (freestyle moguls) and Jon Montgomery (skeleton) appear on the big screen during the first and second intermissions, respectively.
Montgomery leads the crowd in a rousing chant of “Go Canada Go!”
16:25 — A HUGE goal for the Americans by Joe Pavelski, amid a farcical goalmouth scramble. It’s a game way too ragged and wide-open for Mike Babcock’s preference (or for that matter Ron Wilson’s), with teams trading breakaways late in period (Joe Thornton isn’t slow, fyi, he was just at the end of his shift)
Canada has dominated zone play, but as about 12 coaches have pointed out, good netminding and timely goals win hockey tournaments. The part they leave out is that timely goals are the result of mistakes defensive mistakes and Canada has made plenty of them.
Astonishing, considering the calibre of players on its blue line.
Crosby, incidentally, has been non-evident. The Getzlaf-Perry-Staal line has provided Canada with its best offensive cycles and some scoring chances.
The Staal infraction took place right in front of me, and it was indeed dubious. But you conspiracy theorists can forget it: we have one American and one Canadian on duty today. I think it’ll even out.
13:25 — what was Nash doing backing over the blue line, and how was it not off side?
12:00 — Two more in short order by Brodeur; Miller isn’t the only goalie in this game.
9:20 — Brodeur is forced to make a nice stop on Kesler, and puts down the left pad.
3:32 — When this tournament began Jonathan Toews didn’t have an designated position on the team’s four top lines. But he’s a character guy. The kind who can carry the puck out from with Joe Pavelski draped on his back, and feed Dany Heatley for the equalizer.
Toews now has two assists and is shaping up to be a key player for Canada.
20:00 — Shots are 19-6, so make no mistake, as long as the Americans are ahead, this game is all about Ryan Miller. How much longer can he hold on?
A long time, if his performance in Buffalo this year is any indicator. He’s square to the puck on every shot and the U.S. forwards are coming back to make sure Canada can’t get to the rebounds. Miller thrives in games like this.
The Callahan line is aggressive up front, creating turnovers that give their team occasional chances. As long as they’re good chances, that’s all the Americans need.
Puckhandling is Martin Brodeur’s strength, but he has to realize that he’s not playing Atlanta Thrashers here.
14:08 — Fantastic save by Miller on Marleau, who’d broken in with one man back. And the game’s getting rough. Canada’s forwards are on the whole a rugged bunch, but Brooks Orpik and Jack Johnson brought their hard-hats tonight, too. Same goes for Ryan Suter, who just laid another cruncher on Brenden Morrow.
8:53 — Eric Staal with a sweet tip on a shot by Brent Seabrook, but Rafalski replies 23 seconds later. Between Brodeur and the defencemen, they’re being altogether too cavalier in their own end. And the crowd is getting manic-depressive.
Right now it’s depressed, trying hard to get that manic feeling going.
3:41 — Is Miller a daisy petal? That wasn’t very much contact. Getzlaf gets two for interference nonetheless
0:41 — A brutal first shift by the Crosby line, topped by Crosby tipping Brian Rafalski’s point shot. 1-0 Americans. Talk about downer. The crowd feels fragile.
Miller follows up with a nice save. No gimmes in this game.
What can we say about this game to hype it any further?
Nothing, except that it’s the biggest Canada has played since they lost out to the Russians in Turin four years ago. And spare me any talk of the IIHF world championship.
Lineups for both teams look largely the same as the last game except that Brent Seabrook appears to have lost his spot as one of the team’s top-six defenceman. Drew Doughty is pencilled in next to Seabrook’s usual partner, Duncan Keith, as Seabrook seems be a little less poised amid the speed and hurly-burly of Olypmic competition.
Martin Brodeur starts in net for Canada; Ryan Miller for the Americans.
Drop the puck!