Naturally, Canada Flattens Austria 6-0

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Team Canada put aside all doubts left over from their first game with a dominant 6-0 victory over Austria that included a natural hat trick for Jeff Carter and a shutout for goaltender Roberto Luongo.

Final Score: Canada 6, Austria 0

First Period Recap: After Norway managed to hold Canada scoreless through the first 20 minutes of their first round-robin game, the Canadians wasted no time in getting out in front this time around. After a furious first few minutes in which Austria showed their remarkable team speed and generated a few quality chances, Drew Doughty got Canada on the board with his second goal of the tournament. Off a won faceoff, Doughty slung a puck to the net which somehow didn't touch any of the about five sticks it passed right over before slipping under Bernhard Starkbaum. Just over five minutes in and Canada lead 1-0.

Austria responded with a few good chances, as their speed was clearly a threat to Canada, but the finishing presence never showed for the small European nation with only two NHL player representatives on their squad.

Five minutes later, Shea Weber also got his second goal of the tournament with yet another cannon from the right point. Ryan Getzlaf dished a cross-ice pass to Corey Perry who batted it down with one hand and entered the zone three-on-two. Perry dropped the puck to Weber who hammered it home.

Austria once again tried to respond and put forth some flurries.

Late in the period, Austria got one of their two best chances in the game when a shot off a rebound rang off the crossbar and stayed out.

Canada headed to the locker room up 2-0 on the scoreboard and 16-7 in shots on goal.

Second Period Recap: The Austrians once again tried to come out hard to start the period, and put some pressure on Luongo, but Canada's defense appeared to catch on during the break and held the Austrians to the outside, from which they almost never earned any sort of threatening offense.

Then the Jeff Carter show began.

The Los Angeles Kings winger scored his first of the game 2:39 into the period on an assist from Patrick Marleau and Sidney Crosby to make it 3-0 for Canada. Carter stepped out of the penalty box right as an Austrian defenseman carrying the puck past put it directly into his skates. The puck bounced to Crosby across the zone, who skated in on the goaltender, didn't shoot, but instead drew everybody to him before dishing a pass to Marleau who banged it off the post before Carter finally tapped it into a wide-open net.

He would make it 4-0 less than two minutes later by a sweet wraparound goal off a turnover forced by Marleau.

And finally, Carter would complete the natural hat trick at the 14:33 mark from Marleau once again after Marleau recovered a rebound off a Shea Weber blast.

It was the first natural hat trick in the Olympics since 1988.

The game clearly was out of reach for Austria at this point, however I do have to give them credit for continuing to push to break the shutout, and a few times they came close. Their response to goals was usually to put some pressure on the Canadian defense, and their brilliant speed was clearly troublesome.

Corey Perry drew the first penalty shot of these Olympics by getting in behind an Austrian defenseman Florian Iberer, who hooked him and prevented the scoring chance. Perry's shootout attempt would be less than eye-opening, as he slowly cruised in and ripped a shot straight into Starkbaum's catching glove.

However, with Jamie Benn sitting down for a double-minor for high-sticking, Ryan Getzlaf would add a shorthanded tally on a beautiful backhand shot after he weaved his way through four Austrian players.

The end of the period would see the Canadians up 6-0 in score, 31-17 in shots, and would end Austrian starting goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum's evening.

Third Period Recap: As with any large lead after two periods, Canada leveled off in the third, though they didn't stop earning chances.

Austrian backup Mathias Lange played a stellar 20 minutes, making 15 saves to keep the Austrians from embarrassing themselves any further.

He did get slightly lucky as Rick Nash hit the goalpost late in the frame.

The Austrians managed to get a stellar chance as a shot from a bad angle deflected into the slot, leading to a point-blank chance that Roberto Luongo had to make a spectacular save on. Aside from that, however, Luongo was forced to make only 23 saves to seal the shutout.

That would be all the Austrians would manage, however. No penalties in the frame meant 20 minutes of for the most part less-than-stellar hockey and Canada would cruise to a 6-0 victory.

**********

The Good: How good have the Californian based players been for Canada this Olympics? Last time around, Doughty scored a goal from Getzlaf and Marleau for an all-California affair. Today, the Californians would combine for five of Canada's six goals, five total assists, one penalty shot, and a combined +14.

The Bad: Despite Austria's great speed, they sorely lack finishing talent beyond the likes of Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek. The Canadians mostly neutralized these two players and the Austrians couldn't manage any cohesive offense otherwise. Passes were not clean when they needed to be, and often times these inexperienced forwards skated themselves right into an area where they had no support and couldn't find a way to pass themselves out of it, leading to an easy puck recovery for Canada.

The Ugly: About the only thing worse than Austria's lack of scoring depth is their defensive talent. You have to feel for Starkbaum, as the team looked lost in front of him, leaving men unguarded, making unforced turnovers, and being almost entirely unaware of what was happening on the ice. Most notably, you have to feel for him on Carter's first goal, where his defense left both Carter and Patrick Marleau wide open at the side of the net. Current Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Michal Raffl was a team-low -3 in a pretty brutal performance.

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3rd MVP: Patrick Marleau (F, Canada) Marleau led the Canadians with a game-high three assists, and was key on numerous scoring plays for the Canadians.

2nd MVP: Ryan Getzlaf (C, Canada) Call me a homer if you'd like but Getzlaf had a great game. Aside from the shorthanded goal, Getzlaf also assisted on the Canadians second goal of the game from Shea Weber, and his line with Corey Perry and Matt Duchene was perhaps Canada's best cycling line of the night. Add that in with his penalty killing performance, and you have a guy who played a very complete game for his country.

1st MVP: Jeff Carter (F, Canada) You can't take away from the guy when he scores a natural hat trick. Three straight goals for the Canadians despite entering the night as the 13th forward after being removed from a line with Crosby and Kunitz. Talk about playing your way into the team.

Next Game: Sunday, February 16th vs. Finland

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