Canada Holds Off Norway For 3-1 Win

Pool

The Canadians cruised to a win to open the tournament, but the lowly Norwegians did not make it easy for the world supergiant.

Final Score: Canada 3, Norway 1

First Period Recap: On paper this could not have been a better way for Canada to get themselves rolling in the tournament. Norway is not a medal favorite... to say the least. If Canada wanted a warm-up opponent they almost couldn't have dreamed of anyone better.

Then the game actually began. For the second straight Olympics, Norway really didn't seem to care that they were facing a heavy favorite for the gold medal and immediately got straight in their face.

And it paid some significant dividends. Canada really didn't appear to have their chemistry entirely together and were rather tentative through the first 20 minutes, registering only nine shots on goal. Zero of them got past Norwegian goaltender Lars Haugen.

Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf guaranteed himself a spot on the box score early, taking the Canadians first penalty of the tournament-a tripping minor.

Norway put eight shots on Canadian starter Carey Price and looked to give the Canadians quite a scare after twenty minutes.

Second Period Recap: With their first period of this tournament out of the way, Canada took a deep breath, reset, and came out looking much more like the team we expected them to be, limiting Norway to only two shots on goal the entire period, and neither of them were anything remotely close to threatening.

Canada would finally get on the board at the 6:20 mark of the period. With Carey Price at the bench for a delayed penalty, Canada worked the puck back to Shea Weber, who unleashed his legendary cannon of a slap shot that ripped past Haugen for the Canada's first goal of the tournament.

They would add another one later as Jamie Benn would put another one past Haugen off the short-side post with a one-timer from Patrice Bergeron.

As I said earlier, Canada held Norway to two shots on goal, the first of which didn't come until there were about two minutes remaining in the period. Needless to say Carey Price probably got a little bored.

Third Period Recap: The puck dropped on the third period and the Norwegians promptly scared the crap out of the entire nation of Canada again. A mere 44 seconds into the frame, Price failed to recover a puck behind the net, which the Norwegians sent to the point. Mathis Olimb blasted a shot that Patrick Thoresen tipped on the way, knocking it past the Canadian goaltender to cut the lead to 2-1.

The panic didn't last long however, as Drew Doughty restored Canada's two goal lead with a beautiful play just 85 seconds later. Doughty received a pass from Ryan Getzlaf at the point, weaved through two Norwegian forwards, and backhanded a puck past Lars Haugen short side.

In perhaps one of the most beautiful moments of Californian synergy ever, a goal for Canada scored by Los Angeles' Drew Doughty was assisted by Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf and San Jose's Patrick Marleau. #REPRESENT

And that's how it would end. Norway would get a couple of power play chances (hence the shot total in that period jumping to 10), but Canada would do a great job keeping them to the outside and limiting the quality, making it a pretty easy win in Carey Price's Olympic debut.

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The Good: Norway didn't get destroyed. That's a plus. And not only that, but there were times where they looked downright competent. They played two pretty good periods against a world supergiant and lost by only two goals, which is far better than Austria or Slovakia can say. If they really wanted to send a message that Norwegian hockey needs to be taken seriously, then they may have done just that, having pushed Canada hard for two tournaments in a row now.

The Bad: Despite coming into the tournament with perhaps the most dangerous power play in the tournament (the only exception possibly being Russia), Canada's power play went bone-dry on its two chances. They weren't awful by any means, but at times they actually looked more dangerous at even strength than they did with the extra man. Gee where have I heard that before?

The Ugly: There was no denying that Canada looked really shaky to start this game off. Had they gotten a slightly less favorable pool draw and faced a tougher opponent in this one, they may not have walked away with the win. They've got a lot of kinks still to iron out, and while that's easily attributable to their only having been together as a team for a few days, they better find a way to pull it together quick.

**********


3rd MVP: Patrice Bergeron (C, Canada) The fourth line guy for Canada really got it done today, setting up each of Canada's first two goals, and showing great synergy with Jamie Benn.

2nd MVP: Drew Doughty (D, Canada) Despite having a very lackluster first period, Doughty rebounded well at the intermission and pulled out a two point, +2 night, assisting on the Canadians' second goal and scoring the third one himself with a very pretty play.

1st MVP: Lars Haugen (G, Norway) Haugen faced 38 shots and stopped 35 of them. The current number-one guy from the KHL's Dinamo Minsk proved that while his team may not be expected to medal, he's nothing short of a world-class goaltender capable of handling the best players in this tournament. Haugen was literally the only reason this game didn't end with Canada potting six, seven, or maybe even more goals.

Next Canada Game: Friday, February 14th vs. Austria

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