PRICE EARNS SHUTOUT AS CANADA WINS WORLD CUP OPENER
TORONTO, Ont. – If that’s what Canada could do for an opening act, hockey fans across the country can’t wait to see what comes next.
Behind three-point nights from Sidney Crosby (Cole Harbour, N.S./Pittsburgh, NHL) and Brad Marchand (Hammonds Plains, N.S./Boston, NHL) – and points from 12 players in all – as well as a 27-save performance from Carey Price (Anahim, Lake, B.C./Montreal, NHL), Canada shut out the Czech Republic 6-0 on Saturday night in its opening game of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Canada fired 50 shots on net, with Crosby, Marchand, Patrice Bergeron (Ancienne-Lorette, Que./Boston, NHL), Joe Thornton (St. Thomas, Ont./San Jose, NHL), Jonathan Toews (Winnipeg, Man./Chicago, NHL) and Alex Pietrangelo (King City, Ont./St. Louis, NHL) all beating Czech goalie Michal Neuvirth.
Crosby opened the scoring 8:26 into the first period, picking the puck up below the goal line, bringing it out front and banking it off Neuvirth and in.
With less than three minutes to play in the first, Bergeron cleanly won an offensive zone face-off to Crosby, who fed Brent Burns (Barrie, Ont./San Jose, NHL) at the point. Burns’ blast from the blue line was tipped by Marchand to make it 2-0.
Already riding the momentum from that late goal, Canada continued to press. Crosby created a turnover in the offensive zone, and Marchand sent the loose puck cross ice to Bergeron. The puck found the back of the net less than a second before the horn ended the period.
Canada scored twice more in the second. Crosby backhanded the puck to Thornton for an easy tap in at the doorstep.
Seven minutes later, Toews sent a spinning cross-crease pass to Ryan Getlzaf (Regina, Sask./Anaheim, NHL), who returned the puck to Toews for an easy tap in on the power play.
Twelve minutes into the third, Pietrangelo’s wrist shot from just inside the face-off circle gave Canada its second power play goal in three opportunities.
As much offence as the team displayed in the win, it was equally impressive on the defensive side, especially on the penalty kill. Ryan O’Reilly (Clinton, Ont./Buffalo, NHL) battled three Czechs behind their own net to knock several seconds off an early second period power play, drawing cheers from the near-capacity crowd.
The Czechs finished 0/6 on the power play.