The Canadians went to the net all night, causing havoc for Egor Podomatski Both Canada and Russia were
playing tonight's game for something, but only Canada got what it was after. With a convincing 5-2 victory at
the Elysee Arena in Turku, the still-undefeated Canadians have secured first place in Group F heading into
the quarter-finals, which begin on Wednesday.
The Russians are now winless in three Qualifying Round games and must sit by their television sets
tomorrow night and hope that the Swiss don't tie or beat Sweden. If that happens, the Latvians are in, and,
amazingly, the Russians are going home.
Canada played two lacklustre games against weak opponents in the past week heading into tonight's game
against Russia. Russia, meanwhile, lost to Sweden and Latvia, making their situation precarious in terms
of qualifying for the quarter-finals. Yet this tight-checking game was overpoweringly dominated by the
Canadian defense, which allowed no room for Russian skating and dancing in over the blueline with the
Shane Doan scores for Canada to make it 5-1 "We knew because of the rivalry and the fact that many of
those guys have played in North America that it was going to be a physical game and we wanted to prove
ourselves," Canadian forward Kirk Maltby said. "We knew these guys had a lot of skill, but they sometimes try
to do too much. We knew if we stuck to our game plan and didn't run around in our end we could play well
The top Russian line of Igor Grigorenko-Pavel Datsyuk-Ilya Kovalchuk was all but invisible tonight, in part
because of their own strangely uninspiring performance, in part because of Kris Draper's tenacious checking
which the Russian threesome couldn't shake. Nor did coach Vladimir Plyushchev feel it necessary to mix his
lines at any point. When the Russians did penetrate the Canadian blueline, they had mostly long shots blocked
superbly by Sean Burke, who looked virtually unbeatable down low.
"Some players didn't prepare so seriously," Plyuschev scolded. "They went to the sauna or swimming pool
The Russians actually took an early lead when Alexander Frolov drifted a high point shot on the power play
that eluded Burke. It was easily one of six similar goals scored here in Turku, driving home the point that
it's not how hard you shoot--it's getting it on the net that counts.
Soon after, though, the Canadians replied with an extra-man goal of their own. Ryan Smyth, from the
corner, placed a perfect pass on Shane Doan's stick, and he didn't hesitate to drive the puck past Podomatski
from the slot. Chants of "Latvia! Latvia" filled the arena, as the crowd urged on the Canadians to help oust
the Russians in favour of Latvia.
Early in the second, the Russians had two excellent chances when first Alexander Suglobov came in on a
breakaway and then Sergei Zinoviev had a point-blank chance, but both were shots that Burke stopped superbly
to keep the score tied. A good bit of forechecking a short time later by Doan and a perfect pass to Kirk
Maltby gave the Canadians the lead. Maltby took the puck behind Podomatski, and on the wraparound he went
high on his backhand, a beautiful shot to make it 2-1.
Daniel Briere counted Canada's winning goal again off a simple wrist shot from the point by Jay
Bouwmeester. Briere tipped the puck in past a surprised Podomatski, and the Canadians were thoroughly in
control by this point. "(Vasili) Turkovski made some mistakes on the third goal," Plyuschev said. "But it
wasn't just him. For the second game in a row, our defence was weak, and I cannot understand why."
If there was any doubt about the outcome, Maltby dispelled that with his second goal of the game, a
shorthanded effort as he skated down the right side and beat Podomatski between the legs with a shot the
goalie should have stopped. Doan, on another deflection, closed out the scoring for Canada, which coasted to
victory by playing virtually impeccable defense. The only lapse was a goal by Denis Arkhipov at 18:01 that
beat Burke over the shoulder.
So now, on Wednesday, Canada will play one quarter-finals game--opponent and city to be determined after
the Finland-Germany game tomorrow night--while the Russians will play the Czechs in Turku if the Russians
When asked if he'd be cheering for Sweden tomorrow, Plyuschev said simply, "I'm not going to cheer for any
team. We have to do things for ourselves. It's not even Russian roulette," he added of their chances to
advance. "It's very difficult to sit and depend on the results of other teams."