GETZLAF WINS IT IN OVERTIME FOR CANADA

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PITTSBURGH, Penn. – Ryan Getzlaf (Regina, Sask./Anaheim, NHL) scored 3:29 into overtime and Canada defeated Russia 3-2 on Wednesday night in its final tune-up game for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

With plenty of extra ice to work with in the three-on-three extra time, Getzlaf broke in alone and went five-hole on Sergei Bobrovsky.

Canada dominated possession for most of the game, finishing with a 48-26 advantage in shots on net, but needed a goal from John Tavares (Mississauga, Ont./New York Islanders, NHL) with just over six minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime.

Canada had opened the scoring just nine minutes into the first. Brent Burns (Barrie, Ont./San Jose, NHL) sent a short pass off the boards to Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL), who slipped the puck through two defenders to Patrice Bergeron (Ancienne-Lorette, Que./Boston, NHL). The Bruins forward went forehand to backhand to slip the puck in from in close.

Canada outshot Russia 14-5 over the first 20 minutes, with four of the Russian shots coming on one power play.

But the period set a precedent for what almost became the team’s downfall: penalty trouble. Canada was called for seven penalties, including two too-many-men minors. It killed off the first five without incident, twice not allowing a single shot on net.

But you could sense Russia was getting closer. On a power play to start the third, Artemi Panarin had an open net down low, but his stick shattered on an attempted one-timer. With Carey Price (Anahim Lake, B.C./Montreal, NHL) out of position, only a sprawling Jay Bouwmeester (Edmonton, Alta./St. Louis, NHL) prevented Russia from scoring on the rebound.

And when Marc-Édouard Vlasic (Montreal, Que./San Jose,  NHL) was sent off for hooking to put Canada two men down, Russia finally struck. Off the ensuing face-off, Alex Ovechkin one-timed the tying goal.

Less than four minutes later Panarin put a rebound into an open net out front.

The equalizer came when Drew Doughty (London, Ont./Los Angeles, NHL) sent a pass from the side boards to Tavares, who circled up high and fired through traffic.

Quotes:

 

Mike Babcock (Saskatoon/Toronto, NHL), head coach:

“The big thing for me tonight is we started real well, [but] we didn’t have the same desperation or battle level or compete in the second period. We took way too many penalties, we took two too many men on the ice penalties … you can’t be shorthanded seven times in the game and have success. We gotta overcome that a little bit, but we’re getting better as a team.”

 

Ryan Getzlaf (Regina/Anaheim, NHL) on team’s success:

“Special teams is the hardest thing in being on the same page; a lot of that has to do with confidence and the ability to read each other ahead of time. We’re working on it and we’ll continue to get better. Tonight we got to work on everything – we had the three-on-three, the powerplay, the penalty kills, a lot of different scenarios. Those things help build our team to where we want to go.”

 

Ryan O’Reilly (Varna, Ont./Buffalo, NHL) on getting into the lineup after joining the team late Tuesday:

“I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team with this much talent, so I’m ready to roll. At first I was trying to show I was in shape so overskating a bit, but [then] I relaxed and just enjoyed it – just got back to playing hockey and using my natural instincts of just playing, and I felt more comfortable out there. We got a lot of penalties tonight but it was good to get a feel for that style again.”

 

World Cup of Hockey 2016 is a joint effort of the National Hockey League and National Hockey League Players’ Association, in cooperation with the International Ice Hockey Federation. Eight teams — Team Canada, Team Czech Republic, Team Europe, Team Finland, Team North America, Team Russia, Team Sweden and Team USA — will compete in the two-week tournament, featuring more than 170 of the best players in the NHL. All tournament games will be played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Canada begins its World Cup group play on Saturday when it faces off against the Czech Republic (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

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