Canada didn’t thrash Team Europe so much as slowly suffocate it in a 3-1 victory in game one of the World Cup of Hockey finals on Tuesday. The Canadians scored twice in the opening 15 minutes, all the offense Hockey’s Nation needed against a European squad that struggled to solve Carey Price.
Despite leading for nearly the entire contest, Canada held a five-shot edge in shots on goal. Even with score effects definitively on the side of Team Europe, Canada’s dominance shown through.
Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron each had two points as the killer top line of Canada sunk its teeth into Team Europe for the second time during this tournament. The two sides rematch on Thursday in a must-win game for Europe. If the Europeans pull off the upset, game three will be on Saturday.
Brent Burns led all Sharks players with four shots on goal, a mark that also ties the high for Canada. Logan Couture notched three shots while Joe Thornton took one. Marc-Edouard Vlasic blocked two shots in more than 20 minutes of ice time.
Tomas Tatar had the only goal for Team Europe, assisted by Anze Kopitar and Dennis Seidenberg. That cut the lead to 2-1 with more than half the game to play. Bergeron iced the game midway through the third period with his first goal of the tournament.
Europe will look to regroup in game two and once again hopes that Jaroslav Halak, who stopped 29 of the 32 shots he faced, will manage to save them from a tournament ending defeat. If Price continues to play at the level he did on Tuesday night, it might not matter.