Canada 9 - France 1
JEFF SKINNER SCORES TWO MORE GOALS AS CANADA BEATS FRANCE 9-1
KOSICE, Slovakia - The ingredients all seem to be in place to make Canada a top contender at the IIHF
The goals came from all four lines and three different defencemen.
“Pretty much everybody on every line can score,” said Canadian captain Rick Nash.
It's shown in convincing victories over Belarus and France that came by a combined count of 13-2. Those have been the most dominant performances by any team at a tournament that has already seen Sweden lose to Norway and Russia fall to Germany.
Arguably the most important element of Canada's solid start can't be measured by statistics.
“This is a group of guys that I think will have a lot of success based on our camaraderie,” said goalie James Reimer, who made 22 saves against France. “I think within one or two days - it didn't take very long-everyone was buds and hanging out and enjoying the time over here together. I think that's one of our strong points.
“We're a good team right now and it's kind of showing on the ice.”
Even the newcomers have fit in quickly.
Defenceman Marc-Andre Gragnani opened scoring on a power play in his first ever shift at the tournament while James Neal chipped in with an assist after enduring an arduous journey to Slovakia that came on the heels of a tough Game 7 loss by his Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week.
He had to pause for a moment before recounting his trip.
“I went through Pittsburgh to Minnesota, Minnesota to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Prague, Prague to here,”said Neal. “Some solid layovers. Tough road to get here.”
There is an unmistakable confidence among the Canadians.
Jeff Skinner - the youngest player in the entire tournament - scored two more goals Sunday tograbthe early scoring lead with five points. The other scorers were Nash, Gragnani, Jason Spezza, Chris Stewart,Alex Pietrangelo, Brent Burns and Travis Zajac.
“This is a group that really enjoys each other's company,” said Canadian coach Ken Hitchcock. “There's a great almost instant chemistry. I don't know if that's because of the age with everybody or whatever but it'sa very, very cohesive team off the ice right now. I think it's helping us on the ice.”
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare replied with France's first goal of the tournament.
Canada scored early and often to chase Cristobal Huet from the net after just one period. Gragnani buried a wrist shot on his first shift of the tournament at 1:02 on a power play before Spezzaand Skinner both struck to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes.
“When goal-scorers are scoring, it's a good sign,” said Gragnani. “Regardless who the opposition team is,agoal is still a goal and it gives us a lot of confidence going forward through the tournament.”
Reimer had to be fairly sharp in the early going as France had a couple dangerous chances, including a breakaway by captain Laurent Meunier.
His shutout bid was ended on a nice shot by Bellemare at 9:14 of the second period on a power play - one of four in row France received during the middle frame.
Veteran French goaltender Fabrice L'Henry had some initial success after entering the game, but couldn't keep Canada off the scoreboard for long. Stewart made it 4-1 off a goal-mouth scramble at 16:06 and Pietrangelo extended the lead just 43 seconds later.
“We're a team right now that has a lot of fun pressing the attack, we're having a lot of fun pushingthepace,” said Hitchcock. “We feel like we've got depth, we feel like we can wear teams out if we keep playing this way. So far we've been able to do that.”
In the third period, Nash set up Burns and scored with a nice individual effort to give him another piece of history at this event. He now has 41 career world championship points, moving past Steve Yzerman into second place behind Dany Heatley's 62 points.
“Any time you even get a chance to play with Team Canada it's special,” said Nash. “To have a little
bitofsuccess and get a lot of points, it's fun. But the gold medal and two silver medals mean a lot more than
The coach plans to go back to Reimer when Canada gets its toughest test yet against Switzerland on Tuesday.
“I like his game - he's really competitive,” Hitchcock said of Reimer. “He seeks out every puck, he looks around people, he looks through people, he fights for vision every time.
“He reminds me of that old group of goalies, you know, the (Ed) Belfour and (Andy) Moog kind of guys. They fight like crazy.”
Notes: Pietrangelo received the most ice time for Canada with 20:39 ... Meunier had the most shots in thegame with five ... Canadian defenceman Carlo Colaiacovo and goalie Jonathan Bernier watched from the stands after arriving from North America ... France coach Dave Henderson gave his son Brian 8:47 of ice time...Announced attendance at Steel Arena was 4,457.
|Arena||Arena Kosice||City, Country||Kosice, SVK|
|Month / Day / Year||05/01/2011||Time||10:15 AM ET|
01:02 CAN 17 Marc-André Gragnani (19 Jason Spezza, 3 Dion Phaneuf) PP
06:35 CAN 19 Jason Spezza (3 Dion Phaneuf)
12:02 CAN 53 Jeff Skinner (20 John Tavares)
09:14 FRA 41 Pierre Edouard Bellemare (77 Sacha Treille, 18 Yohann Auvitu) PP
16:06 CAN 25 Chris Stewart (20 John Tavares, 53 Jeff Skinner)
16:49 CAN 27 Alex Pietrangelo
01:41 CAN 8 Brent Burns (18 James Neal, 61 Rick Nash) PP
04:38 CAN 61 Rick Nash
14:30 CAN 53 Jeff Skinner PS
17:44 CAN 15 Travis Zajac (22 Cal Clutterbuck, 27 Alex Pietrangelo)
|Shots on Goal||1||2||3||Total|
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Brad Pascall Vice-President, Hockey Operations