In a game that was expected to be a challenge for the Canadians, Team Canada defeated the Russians by a score of 7-3 on Wednesday night to keep their gold medal hopes alive at the 2010 Olympics.
It was an exciting contest that saw the Canadians sticking to their system throughout. They kept the shot totals high yet again, continuing the trend of firing over an incredible volume of shots per game on goal that they’ve utilized throughout the tournament so far. Canada was able to convert their shots to quality chances against the Russians, however, and used their physical play to rattle Evgeni Nabokov early and often.
After scoring six goals on the San Jose Sharks goalie, Canada chased Nabokov from the net and Ilya Bryzgalov stepped in as a replacement. Canada would only score one more goal, but the they kept the tempo up throughout the rest of the contest.
Perhaps the main key to Canada’s success during the game was their ability to contain Alex Ovechkin. Canada pressured him hard and he was visibly rattled by the attention. Coach Mike Babcock’s decision to put Ovie in the path of his checking line paid off and the Russian superstar remained a non-threat throughout the game.
Canada’s mobile defence chipped in, too, with Dan Boyle and Drew Doughty proving why they were selected for the team with electrifying rushes and tremendous physical play. Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer both played their best game of the tournament so far too, demonstrating veteran leadership in key situations and playing tight on Russia’s rushing forwards.
Babcock’s decision to go with Roberto Luongo proved to be the right one, too, as the Vancouver Canuck kept things in control and stopped an considerable onslaught of shots on goal. A highlight came when he stoned Evgeni Malkin on a late breakaway. The crowd’s excitement over having the home team hero play in goal was evident with every “Luuu.”
The win was a historical one, marking the first time Canada has defeated Russia at the Olympics since 1960.
Canada is now set to play the winner of the Slovakia-Sweden game that goes later Wednesday. The next game for Canada will take place on Friday at 6:30 pm PST.
Posted by Jordan Richardson.