VANCOUVER -- Carolina forward Eric Staal was the latest winger to get a crack at playing with Sidney Crosby on Canada's top line. Obviously, it's safe to say the audition went well as Canada blasted Germany, 8-2, in Tuesday's Qualification Round game at Canada Hockey Place.
Replacing Rick Nash, Staal put up three assists, three shots and a plus-3 rating. Calgary's Jarome Iginla, the other winger, had two goals, three shots and a plus-2 rating. Crosby, the Pittsburgh center, had a goal, five shots and a plus-2 rating.
Now, Canada will face Russia in the quarterfinals, a game that will start at 4:30 p.m. PT here at Canada Hockey Place.
Staal stopped to talk to NHL.com almost immediately after Canada's win:
NHL.com: That's pretty much what they were looking for from the Crosby line, isn't it?
Staal: We were looking for a win, that was the biggest thing -- and we got that. We look forward to a huge game against Russia tomorrow. For our line, hopefully we keep building and getting better.
NHL.com: Why were you so good as a line?
Staal: We controlled the puck. I thought we controlled the puck really well in their end and then when we had our breaks, Iginla's got a great shot and he let two go. When there were plays to be made, we were making them. Hopefully, we just get better -- especially tomorrow.
NHL.com: So, is your confidence back?
Staal: Yeah, for sure. I don't think our confidence left. I think our confidence was there the whole time. Obviously, we wanted better results earlier on, but it didn't happen. But we stayed with it. We went to our game again today and we especially need it tomorrow.
NHL.com: Tomorrow is Russia. Talk about that.
Staal: It's going to be huge and a lot of fun. Obviously, it's a huge rivalry -- Canada and Russia, in our country. It can't get better than that. For us, as players, it is something you want to experience and be your best at and I am looking forward to it.