Day: September 20, 2016

Matt Duchene scores pair as Team Canada tops Team USA

By Canadian Press

Matt Duchene scored a pair of goals and Carey Price made 33 saves as the Canadians rolled over the United States 4-2 at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. The victory clinched a spot in the semifinal for Canada while eliminating the U.S. from competition for the tournament crown.

Corey Perry and Patrice Bergeron also scored for Canada in the win.

Ryan McDonagh and T.J. Oshie had goals for the Americans, while Jonathan Quick gave up four goals on 34 shots.

Team Europe will join the Canadians in the next round, which begins Saturday evening.

Canada’s overwhelming blend of skill, speed and depth were ultimately too much for the U.S. and more than enough for a berth in the semifinal.

Duchene scored twice in only 11 minutes, while Price thoroughly outduelled his American counterpart.

Eight different players have goals for the Canadians through two games and all but three players have mustered at least a point. Ten players registered at least one point on Tuesday.

The Americans, conversely, scored only two goals in two games before being eliminated and none from reigning Hart Trophy winner Patrick Kane. Their roster was built behind size and physicality as a means of toppling Canada, a bet that ultimately failed.

Canada expected a “desperate” bunch and indeed, it was the Americans hitting the board first.

Never trailing in their 6-0 tournament-opening win over the Czechs, Canada gave up the first goal of the game — and their first goal of the tournament — when Ryan McDonagh banged a rebound past Price four-plus minutes into the opening frame. An odd series of deflections saw the puck land on McDonagh’s tape just outside the crease.

The deficit was short-lived though.

Canada struck back a minute and a half later on the first goal of the tournament from Matt Duchene and then jumped in front 14 seconds after that on a goal from Corey Perry.

Duchene took advantage of a wily play by Marc-Edouard Vlasic. The Quebec native flung a shot wide off the endboards, the carom landing right in the space Duchene occupied on Quick’s doorstep. The 25-year-old outmuscled Dustin Byfuglien for puck control before putting a backhand into the net.

Byfuglien, the Winnipeg Jets defender, was re-inserted into the U.S. lineup after being scratched in their 3-0 loss to Europe over the weekend.

Perry then gave Canada the lead without even shooting, a Logan Couture rebound pinging off his side and into the U.S. goal. American head coach John Tortorella challenged the play, but the goal and Canada’s 2-1 lead were upheld.

The Canadians added to their lead about six minutes later on Duchene’s second of the night. He capitalized on a deflected Max Pacioretty passing attempt along the wall before making a nifty move and shot between Quick’s pads.

A frustrated Tortorella looked to be considering a change in the crease in the immediate aftermath. The American head coach pointed in the direction of backup Ben Bishop on the bench before conferring with assistants John Hynes and Mike Sullivan, who appeared to advise otherwise.

Too quick at times for their American counterparts, Canada kept pushing to close out the period. Brad Marchand rung a shot off the post, John Tavares had a fine chance around the net while Duchene and the fourth line kept buzzing. Price, too, turned aside a decent look by U.S. captain Joe Pavelski.

The Americans had the edge early in the second.

Matched up against Sidney Crosby’s line, Ryan Kesler and linemates, Blake Wheeler and Justin Abdelkader, managed to keep the top Canadian unit pinned in the defensive zone for nearly a minute and a half. An American power play followed shortly after, but it was Canada that grabbed momentum behind three blocked shots.

Only one shot found its way to Price, who stopped it.

Bergeron added to the lead less than a minute later with his second of the tournament. It was Tavares who made the key play though, the 26-year-old dekeing in and around Matt Niskanen before firing a shot that bounced off Bergeron and the skate of McDonagh before trickling into the net for the 4-1 lead.

Oshie bounced a shot off Price in the final minutes of the third to pull the U.S. within two, much too little in the end for the Americans.

Tuesday mostly failed to produce the nastiness of two exhibition games, though Couture was crunched into the boards by Pacioretty at one point in the third period. Shoving ensued and Couture briefly left for the Canadian dressing room before returning.

Team Canada concludes the preliminary round against the Europeans on Wednesday night.

Team Sweden shuts out Team Finland in defensive affair

By Canadian Press

Henrik Lundqvist made 36 saves and Anton Stralman scored his first goal of the tournament as Sweden blanked Finland 2-0 in World Cup of Hockey action on Tuesday.

Loui Eriksson added an insurance goal into an empty Finnish net with 2.6 seconds remaining in the third.

With the win, Sweden (2-0-0) has a firm hold on the top seed in Group B while Finland (0-2-0) is in tough to advance to the semifinals.

Lundqvist, who missed Sweden’s first game of the tournament on Sunday due to an illness, struggled in pre-tournament competition posting a 4.49 goals-against average and a .778 save percentage in two appearances. The 34-year-old was pulled from last Wednesday’s game against Team Europe after allowing five goals on 22 shots in a 6-2 loss.

Tuukka Rask, starting in the Finnish goal over Pekka Rinne, stopped 27 shots in the loss.

Finland’s Mikael Granlund had two excellent chances to tie the game just past the midway mark of the third, but Lundqvist got his right pad on the first shot and Granlund put his rebound off the post.

Things got physical in the third as Finland’s Sami Lepisto caught Sweden’s Mikael Backlund with a questionable, high hit just inside’s Swedish blue line with a little over nine minutes to play. Lepisto was assessed a minor penalty for roughing, while Backlund received treatment on the Swedish bench but stayed in the game.

Sweden nearly added to its lead with eight minutes remaining in the third, but Eriksson put Henrik Sedin‘s feed right into the pads of Rask.

Sweden led 1-0 after two periods on Stralman’s goal. The Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman put a backhand feed from Henrik Sedin past Rask at 9:57 of the middle period.

Finland’s Patrik Laine had an excellent chance to tie the game 1-1 in the final minute of the second, but Lundqvist was able to get his glove on Laine’s one-timer with 40 seconds remaining in the frame.

The two teams played to a scoreless first period with Finland out-shooting Sweden 11-8.

Teuvo Teravainen, who drew into Finland’s lineup for Erik Haula, nearly opened the scoring five minutes in, but put his shot off of Granlund’s rebound off the post.

Moments later, Sweden’s Gabriel Landeskog stripped Jyrki Jokipakka of the puck just inside Finland’s blue line, but couldn’t get his back hand shot over the right pad of a sprawling Rask.

Sweden concludes the preliminary round on Wednesday against Team North America while Finland meets Russia on Thursday.