Following Canada’s 2-1 overtime victory against Team Finland, bloggers Patrick Smith, Rory MacDonald-Gauthier and Steven Chmielash shared their quick thoughts and analysis from the game.
First period – Stickin’ up for Nash
I think it’s safe to say the first period was by far the most entertaining. Finland got on Canada’s case early in the game, which meant that Crosby and company had something to fight for. After Nash’s patented high-stick knock-the-puck-off-the-net-and-in move was ruled a no-goal, it seemed like a sure thing that Canada would keep firing on all cylinders. (Can a move be patented if this is the first time the player has ever done it? Let’s go with yes.) Sure enough, offensive dynamo and self-appointed team sniper Drew Doughty got Canada on the board. The rest of the period played out alright. Nothing fantastic, but nothing so horrendously boring that a nap seemed like the better alternative. Canada’s best chance after the goal came off a wraparound by Jonathan Toews, but no camera angle could confirm where the puck was. For a brief moment, Team Disallowed Goals led, 2-1-0.
Second period – Leaving their Finngerprints on the game
The second period brought on some of the most boring hockey I can remember watching – including back when the New Jersey Devils had the trap down to a science. There were some hits, a few decent breakout attempts, but overall it felt like two nations matching each other in smarts. Great for the teams, not so much for the fans.
Then, the opponents struck. The goal by the Finns came off a Tuomo Ruutu deflection that Carey Price should have had. Frankly, it’s embarrassing that he missed that.
Okay, no, I’m just messing with Steve here. The truth is that it was a textbook play. Canada had little chance to stop it. Hard to fault anyone for it, except maybe Marc-Édouard Vlasic who could have been positioned a bit better.
Third period – What happened?!
Ever since the Norway game, I’ve been telling people that this game against Finland would be the one to watch. It had promise as an exciting game. But instead, we got this. Lack of hitting. Very few scoring chances, except for a shot by Vlasic at point blank range toward the end of the period, which Finnish goalie Tuukka Rask managed to get a piece of with his glove. In summary, a very drab period made that much worse by the knowledge that it sealed the first seed for Sweden.
Overtime – Never in Dought
Drew Doughty, again, put the team on his back and willed them to victory by using a Finnish defenceman as a screen and sliding the puck through Rask’s five-hole. He went from no goals in the entire 2010 Vancouver Olympics to four goals in three games here in Sochi. Not bad at all.
Canada will play the winner of the Switzerland – Latvia qualifier match next. Switzerland has major upset potential written all over them. This one could be scary.
1st period – No Dought about it
Once again Team Canada had a slow start to the game but that slowly changed due to the explosive play of Drew Doughty. After producing big hits and a nifty spin-o-rama in the first half the L.A Kings blue liner scored his third goal in three games on the power play with 6:16 left to spare.
Two goals were disallowed in the period, neither of which controversial. The first was a result of Rick Nash hitting a stuck puck on top of the net, which bounced into the air and trickled into the net. Due to Nash’s swing being higher than the shoulder it was disallowed. The second was after Jonathan Toews attempted to score a wrap around goal while being tripped up. The puck was quickly recovered by Tuuka Rask after tackling the puck immediately. Regardless of the several camera angles it was impossible to determine if the puck had slid past the goal line.
2nd period – All Finnish
Quiet period from both teams. Finland spent the majority of the second grinding and increasing physical play. Matt Duchene leading the rush consistently. After a pass bounced through Patrick Marleau, Jussi Jokinen was able to pass it to Jusso Hietanen, who took a slap shot that was tipped in by Tuomo Ruutu. Immediate reaction of from Team Canada was flustered – Finland showed physical dominance for the remainder of the period. 1-1.
3rd period – No puns necessary.
Doughty and Vlasic each had a chance to score. Yup.
OT – Double Doughty
Canada played the same style of play as previous periods with a boost in shut down defensive play. Doughty able to get a shot off through traffic that went five hole on Rask after the net minder kicked his left leg out. Doughty has four goals in four games. Canada wins 2-1 in OT.
Summary – YES WE CAN-ada
Getting to that point where we can no longer attribute slow play to the changing of schedules. Canada was sluggish out the gate and stuck to playing their positions. Only player that showed any type of physical play and offensive capability in my mind was Doughty. In previous posts/blogs I’ve neglected the play of Vlasic but after this game I can’t help but like him. Majority of the passes he received went immediately to Doughty who definitely deserved the first star. Liked the play of Duchene as well, who found himself playing on a line with Getzlaf and Perry. Canada will play the winner of Switzerland vs. Latvia in the quarterfinals.
Canada vs. Finland (Steven)
The headline for this game should be “Flat Finish” because the Canadians and Fins game was just that. Flat. Granted, the Canadians came out on top, winning 2-1 in overtime but all throughout the game both teams looked lethargic.
But once again, we see the defenceman pitching in more so than the forwards. Today, both Canadian goals came from Drew Doughty, who now has four goals and an assist since starting the tournament. As I said on the live blog we did a few days ago, although Canada is still undefeated, Mike Babcock shouldn’t be pleased that the majority of goals are coming from their defenceman.
Drew Doughty had four shots on goal and subsequently led the team in that category. Where are the forwards? I get that Toews almost had a goal at the end of the first but was overturned because it was a high stick, but what happened with the bounce back?
Babcock told the team after the Norway game, “Don’t think, just shoot.” Are they not getting the memo?
Now, I don’t know the reason why today’s game was a bit of a snoozefest considering both teams had a day off since they last played on Friday. The CBC broadcast team mentioned that the ice conditions were absolutely horrendous. There were three previous games played there alone today and it was pretty evident that the ice was choppy for the greater part of the game.
As for goaltending, you can’t judge any goaltender’s performance based on 15 shots. The lone Finnish goal was tipped in and you can’t play Price on that one. Babcock is going to have to make a tough call for next game on Wednesday when they face either Latvia or Switzerland. Do you go with Price again or back to Luongo and make a final decision from there?
Either way, the pace needs to pick up for Team Canada. They need to turn on another gear, not for the purpose of entertaining Canadians across the world but for the mere factor that if they play another game at this pace, a goal medal repeat might be an afterthought.