Team Canada’s quest for gold is underway.
The Canadians and Team Norway are even at 0-0 20 minutes into their first game of the opening day of action at the 2010 Games.
Canada was clearly the stronger team in the first period, but it was still a rocky start for the host country. The San Jose threesome of Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton had the best unity of any line, while Sidney Crosby was the most energetic forward with three scoring chances.
Team Norway, a group that has never finished higher than eighth at the Olympics, is likely jumping for joy in holding the high-powered Canadians off the scoreboard early on.
The man Norway can thank for that is netminder Pal Grotnes, a carpenter in his home nation, for building a brick wall in between the pipes. Grotnes has 14 saves thus far, including a wicked glove save on Crosby.
At the other end of the rink, Luongo wasn’t forced to do much. He made four stops.SECOND PERIOD
That’s more like it.
Team Canada erupted for three goals in the second period and lead 2-0 going into the final frame.
An Iginla one-timer from the point off a snap pass from Crosby on the power play opened the scoring for the Canadians 2:30 into the period. Just 1:57 later it was Dany Heatley tipping a Chris Pronger point shot past Grotnes.
Canada’s third goal went to Mike Richards as he beat defenceman Mats Trygg to a puck on a dump into the Norway zone and got it past Grotnes after two whacks at the 11:06 mark of the frame.
Coach Mike Babcock is tinkering with his lines a bit as Iginla is now up with Crosby and Rick Nash on the top line in place of Patrice Bergeron.
Canucks captain Luongo once again didn’t see much action stopping six shots for a two-period total of 10, but he was instrumental on holding Norway at bay during 40 seconds of a 5-on-3 penalty kill.
It’s no secret Canadians are more patriotic than Americans and they’ve proven it so far with two GO CANADA GO chants, three LET’S GO CANADA cheers and one wave that easily trumped the wave during Team USA’s game.THIRD PERIOD
A five-goal period iced Canada’s first win of preliminary play, 8-0 over the Norway.
Getzlaf, Heatley, Iginla, Perry and Nash all scored in the final frame in a game that, despite the slow start, Canada took over by the end.
The third period was played exclusively in the Norway end, with the exception of a few rushes down the ice that resulted in nothing more than marginal saves for Luongo.
Lui’s best stop was a left pad save on Tore Vikingstad on a Norway power play, the netminder followed it up by filling the net with his big frame forcing Patrick Thoresen to put the rebound high and wide.
Canada’s next contest is Thursday against Team Switzerland.
Click here for Luongo's thoughts on his first Olympic shutout performance.