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Germans need to be fearless against Canada

Monday, 02.22.2010 / 7:51 PM / All-Access Vancouver

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Germans need to be fearless against Canada
In Tuesday's game against Canada. the question becomes, will the intimidation factor cripple the Germans?
VANCOUVER -- It's really not a question of whether Germany be intimidated by the hungry Canadians in Tuesday's qualification round game, because everyone pretty assumes that's going to be the case.

It's more of a question of, how much will that intimidation cripple the Germans?

"We'll see tomorrow," Sturm told NHL.com on Monday. "I think there are guys on our team that don't even realize how big it is, but they will definitely know when they step on the ice and hear the crowd."

Sturm plays in Boston, so he knows what to expect from Canada when it plays its first elimination game in this tournament. So do the six other players on Germany's roster that play in the NHL.

But, it'll be up to guys like John Tripp, Andre Rankel and Korbinian Holzer to play without fear if the Germans are to have any chance at pulling the upset. Nobody can definitively say that they will -- not even German coach Uwe Krupp.

"You know what? That possibility exists," Krupp told NHL.com when asked if his players will play scared. "But, I think we are approaching this as more of an opportunity. You go out and do the best you can do, you play honest hockey then you can look in the mirror after the game and say, 'I left it all out there.' That's all anyone can expect of you."

It's not only fearlessness that could potentially lift Germany to a monumental upset. It's offense, discipline, goaltending … you know, the works.

The Germans were not particularly good in any of those areas in the preliminary round.

They were shut out by both Sweden and Finland and scored only three goals in a loss to Belarus, which was incredibly efficient with five goals on 17 shots. Germany threw 40 pucks at the Belarusian net, including 16 in the third period.

"We feel good, but it's just … like last game, we have a lot of shots, so that's a good sign, and we have a lot of chances but we just couldn't find the net," Sturm said. "Hopefully we can tomorrow."

Germany has to stay out of the box. It committed 16 penalties over its first three games and magnified that with the worst penalty kill in the tournament (60 percent, 9-for-15).

"If we stay out of the box, we don't have to worry about killing off those penalties," Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said.

The Germans held Sweden, Finland and Belarus to an average of 25.6 shots per game, but they allowed four goals per game. Only Norway and Latvia gave up more.

Team Germany Gear San Jose Sharks backup Thomas Greiss, who gave up 7 goals on 42 shots in losses to Sweden and Belarus, will be in net against Canada. Krupp said he's Germany's No. 1 and, "we believe that he's going to play a good game for us."

Sturm said Greiss has to be perfect.

"We all know the chances are really slim, but you know what? It's a great opportunity for a lot of guys on our team to play on a stage against the best or one of the best teams in the world," Sturm said. "It's going to be a lot of fun and all we can ask of our players is to work hard and see what happens."

The Germans have their fingers crossed.

"We have the underdog chance," Greiss said. "We'll leave everything out there and with some luck, you never know."

Contact Dan Rosen at: drosen@nhl.com.