Coach Lindy Ruff has the makings of a sensational duo featuring Jordan Eberle as passer and Matt Duchene as finisher. The pair combined for a pair of pretty goals in Canada's 3-1 win over Denmark tonight at the Globe Arena.
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This was the first meeting between the two nations since a 5-3 Canada win in 2006, and only the third all time.
"We came out a little slow, but that's to be expected in a tournament like this," noted Steve Stamkos. "In the second and third we took the pucks down low and had a lot of positives to build on, and then we got going."
"The first period was a little tough," Andrew Ladd agreed, "but once we got our legs, things got better for us. We got better and better as the game progressed."
Canada plays Switzerland tomorrow afternoon while the Danes play Norway in the evening.
Most of the best moments of the opening period took place in the Canadian end. The Danes capitalized on an early power play when captain Eric Staal took an unneeded slashing penalty.
Kim Staal (no relation) made a great pass through the middle off the rush to Danish captain Morten Green. He burst through the middle and then roofed a beautiful backhander over the glove of Devan Dubnyk to give Denmark the 1-0 lead.
The Danes then played “their game” the rest of the period, meaning a tight-checking and defensive-minded period, but Canada earned a late power play after an Oliver Lauridsen high-sticking call. The Danes, though, had a great chance to go up 2-0 on the ensuing Canadian power play, but Dubnyk made two great stops point blank on shots from Mikkel Bødker.
Claude Giroux then got an incredible shot off from his back, hitting the post near the end of the period.
The Danes had an early power play in the second and Morten Madsen had a sensational chance to make it 2-0 when he had an open net to the back side of Dubnyk, but his one-timer hit the post and stayed out. He stayed down on one knee after the shot in utter disbelief. That was the last good opportunity for the team in the period as Canada found its legs and skated away with the game.
Midway through the period Matt Duchene twisted and turned out of the checking of Daniel Nielsen and waited patiently as he moved out front. Eventually goalie Simon Nielsen went down, and Duchene lifted the puck over the fallen goalie at 10:15 to tie the game.
Stamkos showed like patience when he took a great pass from Eric Staal behind the net, and he, too, backhanded the puck in just a minute and a half later to give Canada its first lead of the game. Dubnyk faced only four harmless shots in the period, and Canada was in complete control despite the slim lead.
"We did a great job of not panicking," Stamkos added. "They scored first and got some momentum, and we were trailing after a period, but we didn't panic. We knew once we got going, we'd take advantage, and we did."
Canada opened a two-goal lead on an incredible play by Duchene. He danced through three Danes, dished the puck to Eberle going in on goal, and waited for the return pass. Eberle obliged, and Duchene had an open net. It will be tough to beat that for beauty the rest of this tournament.