Monday, August 27, 2007

Canada overcomes two goal deficit to take game one

Penalty killing will clearly be an important part of Canada’s game in the Super Series.

The Canadian team had to play through eleven short handed situations, including a couple of five on three situations in game one of their eight game series against Russia.
As seems to be the case in Internationally officiated games, any form of contact can suddenly send you to the box, particularly anything to do with the hockey stick. Canada played almost one third of the game down a man on the ice, but still managed to not only weather the storm, but to turn the flow of the game around and move the game into the Russian end of the ice.

Game one saw Canada fall behind two to nothing before storming back to score four unanswered goals on the way to a 4-2 opening night victory. Ilya Kablukov and Alexander Ryabev paced the Russians to the early lead before Canada could mount its comeback and eventual victory.

Steve Mason loomed large in the Canadian net, bouncing back after a goal which he no doubt wish he could have back. From that point on, Mason shut the door to the Russians who thanks to those man advantage situations had no shortage of opportunities to work the puck in the Canadian end.

Strong Canadian fore checking would however counter the Russian attack, frustrating the Russians and slowing down their movement of the puck out of their end of the rink. Goaltending once again seems to be a troublesome aspect for Russian hockey, while the bulk of the blame can’t be laid at the skates of the Russian goaltender, when the Russians needed a key save to slow down Canada’s momentum it wasn’t there. However, the simple fact is that once Canada came back from the early Russian goals, they increased the pressure on the Russians, who couldn’t answer back despite the many man advantage situations presented.

Brent Sutter’s squad showed a fair amount of character in this opening game, shaking off any first game jitters and regrouping after falling behind by two goals, they managed to overcome the wide gulf in penalties (only five Russian penalties were called) and were able to stay to their game plan. Despite the frequent visits to the penalty box, the Canadians kept up their physical play, especially in the Russian end of the rink, which served to interrupt the Russians before they could carry the puck deep.

Canadian goal scorers included Stefan Legein, Kyle Turis, Brad Marchand and Sam Gagner.
Tonights game will be re-played on TSN and on the networks broadband connection at midnight.

Game number two takes place on Wednesday from UFA with another early broadcast call for Canadians of 9 am ET and 6 am on the west coast.

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