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Perfect Canada

A little rust but too much power in a 5-1 win; Norway out of playoffs

03-05-09
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Zurich  SWITZERLAND
Canada wasn't dominating, but it did what it had to do in defeating Norway. Photo: Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images

ZURICH-KLOTEN – Canada defeated Norway 5-1 this afternoon in Kloten to win for the fifth straight time. Defenceman Drew Doughty led the charge with a goal and two assists.

The win keeps the number-one ranked nation in top spot of Group F, and the loss officially eliminates Norway from qualifying for the quarterfinals. Canada has now outscored the opposition by a cumulative score of 32-6.

 

"The first three games are not exactly exhibition games but tuneups for later when you get to the quarter-finals," Doughty suggested. "We're looking forward to playing Finland and the tougher teams."

 

Canada showed a little rust and lax play, the result of a rare two-day break at the World Championship and playing an opponent not bound for the playoff round, but the Norwegians couldn’t keep up all the same.

 

"We stuck to the basics no matter what the score, and that was important," Doughty said.

 

Once again it was the power play that got Canada rolling. Defenceman Doughty made a perfect pass from his blueline to Matt Lombardi streaking through the middle at the far line. Lombardi flew in alone and beat Andre Lysenstøen with a beautiful deke, sliding the puck effortlessly between the goalie’s pads.

The Norwegians tied the game at 12:53 on a power play of its own. They moved the puck around with confidence before Morten Ask took a shot that Chris Mason saved, but Mads Zuccarello Aasen was right there to lift the rebound into the net.

Canada reclaimed the lead before the end of the period on a nice solo effort from defenceman Dan Hamhuis who took a pass at centre ice and went through the team before beating goalie Lysenstoen with a shot to the far side.

They made it 3-1 just 55 seconds later off another perfect connection by the Tampa Bay duo. Martin St. Louis took the puck in the corner and made a nice pass to Steve Stamkos at the top of the circle, and his hard shot beat Lysenstøen for a 3-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Jason Spezza made it 4-1 just 37 seconds into the second on a delayed penalty, and less than a minute later Lysenstøen was pulled in favour of Pal Grotnes. Doughty made it 5-1 at 12:07 on another delayed penalty. Ironically, Canada had the only five power plays of the period but couldn’t manage to score despite leading the tournament with 13 extra-man goals.

 

"We got a big power-play goal at the start of the game, but you can't score all the time," St. Louis said, deflecting any worry about the lack of goals with the extra man today.

 

Canada rounds out its Qualification Round schedule on Monday night against Finland, the winner taking first place in the group. Norway plays Slovakia earlier that day in a game that has no significant bearing on the standings.

 

"We're looking forward to Finland and the stronger competition," said St. Louis.

 

NOTES: Three Canadians made their debuts today – New Jersey Devils forward Travis Zajac, and defencemen Braydon Coburn (Philadelphia Flyers) and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks)…The Norwegians were wearing special stickers on their helmets today in honour of a member of staff from their national Olympic training centre who was killed by a car while riding his bike…a nice moment occurred in the corridors of the Kloten Arena yesterday. Finn Juha-Pekka Hytönen, who won the national championship this past season with Jyväskylä, ran into Slovak Jiri Bicek. The two were teammates early in the season but Bicek was traded and wasn’t part of the championship celebrations. Hytönen gave Bicek his own championship medal, saying he deserved recognition for his contributions to the team’s success.

ANDREW PODNIEKS

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