CANADA DOWNS GERMANS 8-2 TO ADVANCE TO NERVY HOCKEY QUARTER-FINAL AGAINST RUSSIA
VANCOUVER – Team Canada cruised past Germany but a much tougher must-win game awaits Wednesday at the Vancouver Olympics.
Jarome Iginla had two goals and Roberto Luongo picked up the easy win in his first action since he was tabbed as the starting goaltender as Canada thumped the Germans 8-2 in an elimination game Tuesday.
Canada will now face Russia and its array of scoring stars in the quarter-finals.
“They're a great team, but so are we,” said Canada's Shea Weber, who scored against the Germans.
The Russians eliminated Canada from the 2006 Games in Turin with a 2-0 victory in the quarter-finals, but this time the game is on Canadian ice at Canada Hockey Place.
“It's going to be intense,” said Canadian star Sidney Crosby. “We've got a tough game tomorrow. That's a big rivalry, we all know it.”
Crosby missed on a penalty shot but scored a third-period goal, while Eric Staal responded to being put on the top line with Crosby and Iginla with three assists. Weber, Joe Thornton, Mike Richards, Scott Niedermayer and Rick Nash also scored.
Marcel Goc and Manuel Klinge replied for Germany, which was eliminated from the Olympics.
Luongo, who shut out Norway in Canada's opening game, took over as the starter from struggling veteran Martin Brodeur.
“It's a big stage. The nerves are there but I think it's a good thing,” Luongo said when asked if he had any butterflies. “It gets the adrenalin going, gets you sharper and more focused. I had a lot of fun out there tonight and I'm sure I'll have a lot more fun tomorrow.”
Canada outshot the Germans 39-21.
It was a somewhat sharper Canadian team than has been seen thus far at the Olympics that outshot Germany 14-4 in the opening period and got the important first goal at 10:13 from the line of three San Jose skaters against Sharks backup goalie Thomas Greiss.
“Every day we're just feeling better and better,” said Iginla.
Duncan Keith threw a puck to the net that Dany Heatley controlled and fed to Thornton in front for a short shot inside the near post. It was Thornton's first of the tournament.
A strange goal by Weber made it 2-0 at 3:32 of the second period, but only after a video review confirmed that his bullet drive from the point went in the top corner and straight through the netting.
“Yeah, I do it every day,” he said. “The angle it was going in, I was pretty sure it was going in unless something weird happened.”
Iginla banged in a goal from the side of the net on a power play only 1:09 later and then picked a top corner on a slow-speed rush for his fifth of the tournament – all in the time he has spent on Crosby's line – at 8:50.
“That's what this tournament is all about, who can find chemistry the fastest, which lines are going to
work out the best,” said Nash. “It seems like the lines are firing now.”
Three minutes later, Nash broke through the German defence and was hooked from behind, drawing a penalty shot. Under international rules, any player on the team can take the shot and coach Mike Babcock made the curious decision to have Crosby shoot rather than rewarding Nash for his effort while the team had a comfortable lead.
Crosby's backhand was stopped easily by Greiss.
Canada eased up noticeably after that and started losing battles for the puck. It cost them as a shot went wide off the back boards and Luongo didn't get to the other side of his net in time to stop Goc on a wraparound at 16:34.
Only 1:10 into the third period, Crosby was at the net to tip in a Staal pass, Brenden Morrow fed Richards alone in the slot at 6:41 and Niedermayer came out of the penalty box and scored on a breakaway at 11:22.
Nash finally scored – his first in 10 career games at the Olympics – with a shot from his off-wing after he was moved from Ryan Getzlaf's struggling line to the so-called fourth line with Richards and Jonathan Toews.
“I was getting so many chances,” said Nash. “If I wasn't getting my chances, I'd be worried. Tonight, again, I had three or four chances from point blank and finally one squeaked by him.”
Germany got one more with 1:02 left to play when Klinge scored on a two-man breakaway.
Germany's Marco Sturm said he noticed a difference in the Canadians, who were coming off a loss to the U.S.
“They're just a great team the result shows it,” said the Boston Bruins forward. “There's a lot of pressure (on the Canadians) but it's going to be a different game too. It's going to be a great game to watch.”
Russian veteran Sergei Fedorov said Wednesday's game will be “crazy.”
“They will get great support,” he said at practice Tuesday. “They are under a lot of pressure and they are playing in Canada. It's not easy, but they have experienced guys and they've been through a lot. They are a very, very strong team.”
The Canadians will be well prepared, said Weber.
“It'll be a different style of game than tonight but it's something that we'll do some video and some planning and we'll go from there,” he said.
|Arena||Canada Hockey Place
||City, Country||Vancouver, B.C., CAN|
|Date||Tuesday, February 23, 2010
||Time||4:30 p.m. PT|
|Goals & Penalties/ Buts et pénalités|
|First Period/Première période|
|Second Period/Deuxième période|
|Third Period/Troisième période|
|Goaltenders/Gardiens de but|