Image Credit: HockeyStats.ca
While Canada faced few moments of adversity during the group stage of the World Cup of Hockey, the semi-final figured to be the first real test of the tournament for them. Russia had looked very dangerous heading into the game, and it figured to be a much closer contest than most of Canada's games to date.
The first few minutes of the game were a bit of a feeling out process, until Russia got themselves a power play after a hooking call against Jay Bouwmeester.
They couldn't get anything going though, and shortly after it expired, Canada's captain Sidney Crosby went to work.
On a beautiful individual effort, Crosby stole the puck as the Russians were trying to clear, got in alone on Sergei Bobrovsky, and deked him out of his equipment to make it 1-0 for Canada.
crosby goal pic.twitter.com/GT5gHCLfnq— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 24, 2016
As the period rolled on, Canada would get three more consecutive power plays before the intermission, but couldn't get anything else going. The Russians showed some discipline issues, but Bobrovsky made sure that his team didn't pay for them, and the score remained 1-0 after one period.
It took nearly 10 minutes for the Russians to get a single shot in the second period, but they made it count. A quick break gave them a two-on-one, and Nikita Kucherov was able to put one off the post and past Carey Price to tie the game up.
Kucherov goal pic.twitter.com/uJ4Xsw1t7R— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 25, 2016
Carey Price was up to some of his usual sneaky antics in the game, and it was glorious.
I missed Carey Price so much pic.twitter.com/6RYDck0Ag7— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) September 25, 2016
After the Russian goal, Canada began to pile on the pressure. Chance after chance went their way, but whether it was the post or Bobrovsky, they were thwarted. The Russians weathered the storm, and would eventually break the tie themselves.
Evgeny Kuznetsov managed to bang in a rebound during a scramble in front of Price, and just like that the Russians had the lead despite being outshot 30-12.
Kuznetsov go-ahead goal pic.twitter.com/LCXDdVLepo— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 25, 2016
But Canada was on a mission. Some fantastic work down low by Crosby gave Brad Marchand a wide open net, and he made no mistake to tie the game right back up mere moments after the Kuznetsov goal.
Marchand goal pic.twitter.com/MEX3txnLDw— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 25, 2016
And Marchand just kept on ticking as the third period began. He had a great chance that was thwarted by Bobrovsky, but came right back, took a beautiful feed from Crosby, and sniped the go-ahead goal to put his country back on top with nearly a full period left to play.
Marchand makes it 3-2 pic.twitter.com/vNl8x7X1jg— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 25, 2016
But with the Russians being opportunistic, Canada could not afford to sit back and hope for the one goal lead to last, and they didn't. Corey Perry got the puck alone in front, and though he struggled to get it into a shooting position, he eventually made sure it found the back of the net. 4-2 Canada.
Perry goal pic.twitter.com/5lwvY1GDdn— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 25, 2016
A two goal lead was nice, but they were still looking to add to it. The line of John Tavares, Ryan Getzlaf, and Steven Stamkos had been absolutely destroying the Russians, but unable to score. That changed very quickly when Tavares gained the Russian zone, used a toe drag to create a lane, and unleashed a snipe to make it 5-2 for his country.
Tavares goal pic.twitter.com/m7tCUYOI0w— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 25, 2016
After earning the three-goal lead, Canada transitioned to a bit more of a defense first mentality, which led to some increased pressure on Price. He was equal to the task, making sure that absolutely nothing would come easy for the Russians.
Russia would pull Bobrovsky with just under two minutes to play for the extra attacker. They would manage to get one last goal that shouldn't have counted due to an uncalled hand pass, but it was no matter, as Canada would take the game and advance to the final.
- Sidney Crosby was nothing short of magnificent. He scored, he set up two more goals, and was clearly the absolute best player on the ice. Games like this are the reason that he is widely known as the best player in the world.
- Canada really isn't using the Shea Weber bomb shot on the power play, which seems weird since they had some trouble scoring on their opportunities. He was out for the second wave during those three consecutive chances in the first, but not once did they look to work the puck to him at the point. They may want to consider using him more moving forward.
- Carey Price may have allowed the second Russian goal after only 12 shots, but the two goals were unstoppable. First there was the ridiculous shot by Kucherov, and then some big traffic allowed for the second. He wasn't letting in any stinkers, so there wasn't much to legitimately criticize at all.
- Canada really took it to the Russians in this game, and it would have been a laugher if not for those two opportunistic goals, and the play of Bobrovsky. Canada had 47 shots to Russia's 34. They had 75 attempts to Russia's 55. This game could have been very ugly, and Canada clearly deserved to move on in this tournament.