Team Canada absolutely ravages Team Russia with a 5-2 victory in the semifinal round of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The semifinal round of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey is in full swing at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Tonight, hockey fans watched as Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin took on Pittsburgh Penguins captain and the almighty Team Canada.
There is one thing that separates this round from the round robin in the quarterfinal. The semifinal round is a one and done. In other words, the team who emerges victoriously in tonight’s encounter will have a one-way ticket to the finals. On the other hand, the loser will make their way home to their respective teams.
In the beginning, it seemed as if the Russian team, who has some of the best talents in the National Hockey League, was poised to overcome the almighty Team Canada and make their way to the final round to face the winner of tomorrow’s semifinal matchup between Team Europe and Team Sweden.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Unfortunately, the Russians seemed to implode during the second period of the game. At the end of the day, Team Russia, which includes four players from the Tampa Bay Lightning, will be headed home as Team Canada makes their way to the finals. Let’s take a closer look at how things played out.
Team Russia learned very early in the game they needed to be much more cautious with their puck handling. A turnover from Dmitri Kulikov led to an unassisted goal from Captain Canada himself. The Russians had as many scoring chances as they did shots on goal in the first period, but couldn’t seem to seal the deal.
While we are normally a huge proponent of quality over quantity, but when you find yourself in a do-or-die situation, it’s time to leave everything out on the ice in an attempt to make your way to the next round.
When these two teams hit the ice for the second period of play, it seemed as if Russia had finally got their legs under them. At 8:47 in the period, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov would spark Team Russia’s offense with a goal assisted by Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Nikita Zaitsev and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin.
With just under four minutes left in the second period, the Russians would strike again with a goal from Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov. This would give Team Russia their first lead of the game. Unfortunately, their window for celebration was slammed shut rather quickly.
Just over one minute later, Team Canada would respond with a goal from Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand. Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby would earn his second point of the night with the assist on Marchand’s goal. The secondary assist on the goal went to Marchand’s Bruins teammate Patrice Bergeron.
Unfortunately for the Russians, the third period was all about Team Canada. The Canadian team would come up with three goals over the course of the third period of play. The first of those would belong to Brad Marchand, who would pick up his second goal of the night.
The ESPN announce team was certain Marchand would come up with the hat trick tonight, but it seems it was simply not in the cards for him tonight. Of course, that may have something to do with the amount of bad juju sent his way from the sheer amount of times ESPN mentioned the word that shall not be uttered during game time.
The second Canadian goal in the third period belonged to Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry. Perry was assisted by San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture and defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Just when you think things couldn’t possibly get worse for Team Russia, well…
New York Islanders captain John Tavares would sink yet another goal for Team Canada. The assists on the Tavares goal would be attributed to Ryan Getzlaf and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. This was the second assist of the night for Vlasic.
When the final buzzer sounded, it was Team Canada who would be headed to the finals to face the winner of tomorrow’s final semifinal round game between Team Europe and Team Sweden.
The saddest part of this whole situation is when you take a look at the numbers, it almost seems as if the Russians forgot there was a hockey game to be played today. At the very least, it seems as if they thought they would have another day to fight like they did in the Round Robin.
Unfortunately for them, this was not the case.
Through 60 minutes of play, Team Canada would outshoot Team Russia 47-34. With a difference like this, it would almost seem as if Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price could’ve taken a nap at some point during the competition.
Team Canada also dominated Team Russia in the Faceoff circle. The Canadians would outperform the Russians 64-34 percent in the Faceoff circle.
While most fans here in the Bolts Nation would’ve rather seen our boys make their way to the final round, at least we know Nikita Kucherov, Nikita Nesterov, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Andrei Vasilevskiy can make their way back to the Sunshine State and get involved in the Lightning’s Training Camp.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will accompany Team Canada to the final round. The curious thing here is that one of the most dangerous goal-scorers in the National Hockey League has yet to score a single goal in the tournament.
Every single player who on Team Canada who took a faceoff in tonight’s game had at least a 50 percent Faceoff Percentage. That’s saying something at this level of competition.
Defensively, Team Russia would have the upper hand on Team Canada. Unfortunately, it simply wasn’t enough to hold off the Canadian onslaught.
The road may have ended for some Tampa Bay Lightning players; however, there are still three Lightning players remaining in the competition. As we mentioned before, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos will join Team Canada while Lightning defensemen Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman will be representing their native Sweden.
In any case, there is still plenty of hockey to be had at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. After that, the start of the regular season will be right around the corner. We don’t know about you, but we here at Bolts By The Bay are more than ready to bring the Thunder for our Boys In Blue once again.