With a healthy Carey Price between the pipes, and a roster stacked to the point where Mike Babcock felt comfortable sitting the likes of Claude Giroux, Canada opened their tournament with high hopes against the Czechs tonight.
Image Credit: HockeyStats.ca
The game started off at a furious pace. First, a quick break for the Czechs forced Carey Price to make a very tough toe save on his first touch of the game. Canada turned that play right back around, as Sidney Crosby got sent in on a breakaway, but Michal Neuvirth made a spectacular glove save of his own.
And they would maintain that pace throughout the first, but it took around nine minutes for the scoreless tie to be broken. Sidney Crosby picked up the puck behind the net, and simply banked it off Neuvirth and into the net. The goal would be reviewed for possible interference, but it would stand for a 1-0 Canadian lead.
overhead pic.twitter.com/5O0uQre00I— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 18, 2016
The Czechs pushed back and pressured the Canadiens throughout the rest of the first, but they couldn't get anything past Carey Price, who was very solid. With just under three minutes to play, however, Brent Burns put a shot on net through traffic, Brad Marchand got a piece of it, and the lead was extended to 2-0
Marchand deflects a Burns slap shot, 2-0 Canada pic.twitter.com/kBmKHWDv9g— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 18, 2016
And they weren't content to sit on that lead. Sidney Crosby forced a turnover in the Czech zone, Brad Marchand found Patrice Bergeron with a great pass, and the latter just barely beat the buzzer to make it 3-0 heading into the intermission.
Saint Patrice makes it 3-0 with one second left in the first period pic.twitter.com/OYifClTJ0L— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 18, 2016
The second period was more of the same. Crosby had himself a game, and after taking a pass from Matt Duchene, he gifted a goal to Joe Thornton who was sitting on the back door. That made it 4-0 Canada with no end in sight.
Thornton goal pic.twitter.com/KgTwvNmxHW— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 18, 2016
With just over five minutes to go in the second, the Canadians got a power play, and the lead would grow yet again. Ryan Getzlaf slid the puck to a patient Jonathan Toews in front of the net, and he made no mistake burying the 5-0 marker.
Toews goal pic.twitter.com/b42z19z7Qt— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 18, 2016
At the end of two periods, Canada was outshooting the Czechs 35 to 19, and out-attempting them 54-38. It was not a close game, and though the Czechs showed some push at times, there were very few signs that they would be able to get back into the game.
The third period was mostly benign, with the Czechs getting a few chances on the power play, but Price keeping the door shut. Of course, Alex Pietrangelo would cash in on a powerplay with seven minutes to go in the game, and just like that it was 6-0 for his country.
That was all she wrote, as the Czech squad was probably very happy to hear the sound of the final horn and Canada opened their tournament with the most convincing of wins.
- Canada had some struggles breaking out in the first period, and turned the puck over several times while trying to get going up ice. This is something Mike Babcock is going to have to address quickly, because that would be a very troubling trend to have continuing as the tournament goes on.
- Carey Price didn't face much pressure, but he looked fantastic when he was called upon. This is very good news for Canada, and very good news for Canadiens fans as well. Every other team in the tournament had better take notice, because Carey Price is very much back.
- The line of Crosby, Bergeron, and Marchand is absolutely unbelievable. They controlled over 60% of even-strength shot attempts when on the ice, and they did damage on the scoresheet too. If any team in this tournament is going to take down the Canadians, they'll have to figure out how to contain them, which seems an impossible task
- There is really nothing negative to be said about this performance for Canada. They dominated every facet of the game, and it was a performance they'd like to replicate every game if they can.