Thursday, September 06, 2007

Six down, two to go

The Canadians didn't bring their best game to Saskatoon, but as has become apparent in this Super Series, (such as it has been) you suddenly don't need your best to topple the Russians.

In a game which saw the Canadians out shoot the Russians by a huge margin (42-17) the story could have been the missed scoring opportunities by Team Canada. Playing just a little too cute at times, the Canadians mishandled the puck at key times in the Russian end of the rink. If they had been a little sharper in their passing game they may have put a few more shots behind Semen Varlamov who played a pretty amazing game for the Russians.

All but abandoned by his defence, Varlamov tried valiantly to keep his team in the game denying many Canadian shots time and time again. Frustration led to a parade of penalties for the Russians which surprisingly didn't cost them as much as it could have. Canada had a number of 5 on 3 opportunities at key times in the game but could not capitalize on them.

As the game moved into the third period with the two teams tied at 1-1, Canada finally found the chink in Varlamov and put the game away with three goals on the way to the 4-1 victory.

Canada was quite sloppy at times getting away from the attack plan that Brent Sutter has put together for his team. The regained their play in the third and began to shut down any hope that the Russians might have had about a come back.

The play of the Russians has left many scratching their heads, as this team is certainly unlike most of the machines that have come to Canada in the past. They play far too tentative, make uncharacteristic mistakes and leave their their goaltenders on their own to fend for themselves far too much.

If they have any hope of avoiding a sweep, they need to get a plan together and stick with it for the sixty minutes. The final two games in Red Deer and Vancouver will be their last chance to try and regain a bit of the mystique they once had. But you just don't get the feeling that they'll be able to do that on this tour.

It would seem that the best they can hope for is to try and make games seven and eight close.

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