TORONTO – Brad Marchand (Hammonds Plains, N.S./Boston, NHL) had two goals and Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL), Corey Perry (Peterborough, Ont./Anaheim, NHL) and John Tavares (Mississauga, Ont./New York Islanders, NHL) one each as Canada beat Russia 5-3 to advance to the best-of-three final series of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Finding itself tied 2-2 after two periods despite outshooting Russia 33-15, Canada scored three times in a span of 8:06 of the third period to pull away.
Just 1:16 into the final period, Crosby dropped a pass to Marchand, who cleanly beat Sergei Bobrovsky far side.
Four minutes later, Perry found the handle on a rebound in front to make it 4-2.
Then Tavares did a little toe drag before releasing a wrist shot from between the hash marks.
With Russia’s net empty, Artemi Panarin scored in a scramble down low with seven seconds left in regulation to close out the scoring.
Canada opened the scoring in front of an amped-up crowd only 7:40 into the game.
Crosby picked the puck off Dmitry Kulikov near the side boards, skated in front and finished off with a backhand.
Just as players put aside rivalries this tournament, so too have the fans. After Carey Price (Anahim Lake, B.C./Montreal, NHL) stoned Nikita Kucherov in the opening minutes, the crowd chanted his name. And after Marchand created a turnover deep in the Russian zone and set up a scoring chance for himself on the penalty kill, his efforts were loudly cheered. Neither player is likely to be received so warmly on future visits to the Air Canada Centre.
The opening five minutes of the second period were all Canada, but it couldn’t buy itself some breathing room. A one-goal lead is perilously thin, even when a team is dominating puck possession.
Russia didn’t get its first shot of the second period until 8:47 had ticked off the clock.
And Kucherov scored on that shot, keeping the puck on a two-on-one with Vladislav Namestnikov.
Moments after Ryan Getzlaf (Regina, Sask./Anaheim, NHL) hit the crossbar, Evgeny Kuznetsov finished off a pass in front to give Russia its first lead late in the second period.
Seventy-two seconds later Crosby fed Marchand to tie the game.
Canada outshot Russia 47-34; Price picked up his third win in as many starts.
Babcock on the role of goaltending and Canada’s high-shooting games:
“The goaltenders [at this event] are spectacular, so they can hold the fort for a long period of time. The first time we played the Russians, it took us until the third and then to overtime to win. So, today, we got there a little quicker, but still, Bob [Sergei Bobrovsky] was unreal.”
Marchand on his experience at World Cup of Hockey 2016:
“It’s been a whirlwind here, being part of a group like this – and at this level – has been special. But any time you play in a game of that magnitude and you’re able to win, it’s an incredible feeling. So, [I’m] still trying to take in everything, and it’s been a blast so far.”
Crosby on the Canada-Russia rivalry:
“I can only answer for myself, but I get pretty excited to see Canada-Russia, whether I’m playing in the game or World Juniors, or any type of hockey game. I think that history’s provided us with some great games and it’s exciting, as a Canadian hockey player, playing against Russia. But I still get excited about it. I don’t think [the rivalry’s] over. If you look at their team, they have some pretty special players, a lot of talent, a lot of skill; exciting guys to watch, and it’s great hockey.”
Did You Know…
- In 13 games at Canada Cup/World Cup of Hockey between Canada and Russia (or the former Soviet Union), Canada has maintained the advantage, posting a 8-3-2 record.
- Crosby’s 23-game win-streak while in the Team Canada jersey dates back to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.
- Price is now 14-0-0 in IIHF World Championship, Olympic Winter Games, and World Cup of Hockey play.
Canada awaits the winner of the Sweden-Europe semifinal to see who it faces in the final; Game 1 goes Tuesday night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).