TORONTO – Matt Duchene (Haliburton, Ont./Colorado, NHL) scored twice, Corey Perry (Peterborough, Ont./Anaheim, NHL) and Patrice Bergeron (Ancienne-Lorette, Que./Boston, NHL) once each and Canada defeated the United States 4-2 Thursday night at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
With the win Canada clinched a spot in the semifinals and eliminated the United States from contention.
Carey Price (Anahim Lake, B.C./Montreal, NHL) made 34 saves for his second straight win.
Not much needs to be said when it’s Canada versus the United States. Even when nothing is on the line neither side has trouble getting up to play the other. Just over a week ago the two teams played two less-than-friendly pre-tournament games.
A tough, physical match was expected tonight, especially with the Americans’ tournament on the line. What probably wasn’t expected was that before the game was even seven minutes old, seven shots on net would result in three goals.
Canada found itself down early. Ryan McDonagh banged home a loose puck down low only 4:22 into the game.
A minute and a half later Marc-Édouard Vlasic’s (Montreal, Que./San Jose, NHL) point shot went wide left off the end boards and back out around the other side of the net. An open Duchene quickly backhanded the puck in.
Only 14 seconds after that, Logan Couture (London, Ont./San Jose, NHL) drove down the wing and threw the puck on net. Jonathan Quick’s attempt to bat the shot with his blocker resulted in the puck going off Perry and in.
Just past the midway point of the period, Duchene picked up his second goal of the game. A bad turnover by the Americans in their own zone allowed Brent Burns (Barrie, Ont./San Jose, NHL) to feed Duchene, who deked one defender then went five-hole on Quick.
The lead grew to three in the second period. John Tavares (Mississauga, Ont./New York Islanders, NHL)– celebrating his 26th birthday on Tuesday – absolutely undressed defenceman Matt Niskanen; the puck then went off Bergeron’s skate, then McDonagh’s and in.
Seemingly living the adage, ‘you’ve got to be good to be lucky,’ Canada enjoyed some friendly home-ice bounces in the third period. The Americans rang two shots off the post, and had a third go off Price’s glove, hit the post but stay out.
From the side of the net, T.J. Oshie got one back for the U.S. late in regulation
Canada closes out preliminary-round action against Team Europe on Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Mike Babcock (Saskatoon/Toronto, NHL), Team Canada’s head coach:
“We just come to the event, we prepare for the games, we try to get better every day, and we try to win in the end. And being Canadian, you’re greedy. You think it’s your right to find a way to get ‘er done. Now, these teams are very, very good and very, very tight. When I look at the tournament, there’s good teams in the tournament. We’re fortunate today to have an opportunity, it looks like that we’re going to get to play more games. That’s the way I look at it.
“Our guys worked hard, and they’re detail-oriented, and they want to get better. And they’re about winning and they know who they’re playing for, and they take it seriously. And we’re just excited to have more opportunity.”
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 — are competing in the two-week tournament, featuring more than 170 of the best players in the NHL. All tournament games are played at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Canada wraps up preliminary play on Wednesday against Team Europe (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). To the winner of the game goes top spot in Group A.