CANADA vs. UNITED STATES
It’s only warm up and already this is the greatest game in the history of sports.
The atmosphere in Canada Hockey Place is unlike anything I have ever seen. It’s like the Super Bowl, Grey Cup and game seven of the Stanley Cup final made a baby and this is it.
There is more red and white in the building than white, red and blue, by about 99.9 per cent. This is a pro-Canadian crowd, no way around it. The Americans were hastily booed as they hit the ice. Canada was deafeningly cheered.
If you aren’t glued infront of a TV yet, you’ve got 15 minutes.
If you’re a someone, you’re at this game. At least as far as celebrities are concerned.
Vince Vaughn is in his usual box, Mike Weir is across from me in the stands and Chicago Blackhawks defenceman Brian Campbell is literally five feet ahead of me. I've also spotted Michael J. Fox, Michael Buble and Gordie Howe.
Rumour has it that Barak Obama will be in the house, that’s why security has been so tight.
Play was jittery in the opening minutes with Canada and the USA getting a feel for how the game was going to play out.
The home side carried the early momentum if only because of the rabid crowd, which broke out in GO CANADA GO chants roughly every two minutes.
Gotta give it to the American fans, although few, they are holding their own. A faint U-S-A chant was hear during a stoppage in play.
On the ice neither team wanted to be the first to blink, with Canada having the good chances early.
The Sharks line of Patrick Marleau, Dany Heatley and Joe Thornton had a 3-on-2, but nothing developed.
Canada’s forecheck was impressive through 10 minutes. They were grinding it out delivering hits at will. Mike Richards laid into Brooks Orpik and Jarome Iginla tattooed Jack Johnson.
The Americans were also throwing their weight as Orpik put Heatley into the US bench.
Rick Nash was nearly on the scoreboard halfway through the period when off a broken stick clearing attempt by David Backes, the power forward snapped a tough shot on goal.
Roberto Luongo’s first big save came at 10:09 when Dustin Brown plowed down the left wing and got a puck past the keeper, but not over the line. Duncan Keith was there to tap it into his pad to keep the game scoreless.
That’s how it remained until the 7:10 mark when Jonathan Toews scored the biggest goal of his career off a rebound from a Mike Richards shot following a steal deep in the American zone off Erik Johnson.
Panic time USA, this is the first time you’ve trailed all tournament, how are you going to respond?
By taking a penalty, apparently.
Bobby Ryan tripped up Heatley in the Canadian end for the game’s first power play.
Canada came away with two shots, but the lead remained the same.
The period ended with some rough stuff as Ryan Getzlef and Jack Johnson exchanging gloved punches in a scrum of bodies near the penalty box.
It’s 1-0 Canada after 20 minutes.
A minute in Richards forced Ryan Miller to make a pad save after he sent a backhand his direction off a horrible US turnover.
Miller was put to the test again with Ryan Malone taking a high-sticking penalty for getting the lumber on Corey Perry.
The American keepers best stop was on a Thornton one-timer off a botched pass at the right side of the goal.
On a US man advantage a minute later, Luongo came up with a pair of stops as Canada killed off the penalty.
That proved to be big with Perry scoring 32 seconds later.
Getzlef carried the puck into the zone down the left wing before attempting to hit Marleau down the middle. His pass went off the skate of Ryan Whitney right to the trailer Perry and he snapped it past Miller.
The Canadians were forced to kill off another American power play 1:12 after the goal as Toews took a seat for tripping.
The Americans were all over the Canadians forcing Luongo to come up real big again, especially in a pile-up in his crease where visibility was next to zero.
With 15 saves midway through the period, Luongo was frustrating the American shooters. That didn’t thwart their attack.
USA was finally on the board off a long point shot by Patrick Kane that was tipped in front by Ryan Kesler. The puck drooped under Luongo’s right arm and just went in.
The Canadian lead is down to one goal, it’s 2-1.
Unflappable after giving up a goal, Canada responded with a great shift by Brendan Morrow, Getzlef and Perry in the US end that almost resulted in a restored two-goal lead.
The puck worked around to Weber at the point, his right hand blast sailed on goal and hit Miller in the glove allowing him to make the save despite being screened in front.
With less than four minutes to play both teams exchanged chances as the intensity of the game skyrocketed.
Nash round Richards in front after wrapping around the goal, his shot somehow stayed out. I’ll need to see the replay 40 times to understand how.
I just saw the replay, Richards wiffed on the shot and never got it on goal. That’s how he didn’t score.
The final scoring chance of the period was an Eric Staal breakaway off a sick pass from Dan Boyle. Staal’s shot went high and wide.
Twenty minutes left to decide this game.
Close call for the Canadians to start the final stanza as Weber rocked a shot off the right post.
Chris Pronger was next to ring the iron as his shot from the left point beat Miller, but not the left post.
Things are tightening up as the refs put their whistles away and let the players play.
Kesler just let a wrist shot fly that Luongo gobbled up despite traffic in front, other than that there’s been a constant Canadian presence in the American zone.
With just over 10 minutes to play Miller made a pair of incredible saves to keep Canada from going up 3-1.
Off a Kane turnover, Heatley had two shots from in close but Miller stopped the first one with his pad and was in great position to cut off the angle on the second shot as it hit the side of the goal.
Canada looks like the Minnesota Wild right now.
The Americans are pouring it on and Luongo just had to make a killer save on a Brian Rafalski follow up shot from just outside the crease.
Under five minutes to play.
I can’t breathe.
Canada is forechecking well to kill the clock, while the US is sending a lot of long passes into the opposing zone hoping to get something going.
At 3:13 Sidney Crosby had a chance to put the game away as he strolled in on a breakaway, but he lost control of the puck taking the heat off Miller. Kane didn't help anything as he was back slowing him down.
Two minutes left in the third period.
There goes Miller to the bench with 1:30 to play.
Kesler was one of the six American attackers on the ice with less than a minute to play.
The US pressed, did it ever, and it worked.
Zach Parise knocked in a rebound past Luongo with 24.4 seconds to play.
Two Americans were behind the Canadian defence there. Brutal.
All I know right now is that we’re in for a fantastic finish to the Olympics.
Overtime in the best Olympic event? Are you kidding me?
It’s a coin flip now. The States have the momentum following their late goal, but the Canadians are the Canadians, heart in spades.
I’ll take Scott Niedermayer for the game-winner.
We’re four on four for one 20 minute overtime.
Niedermayer with a cross-ice feed to Iginla in front, Miller made the save.
Heatley with a hard shot aimed top corner, Miller stood tall to get a shoulder on it.
CROSBY SCORES! CANADA WINS!
I still haven't seen the replay of what happened there. Iginla hit Crosby with a pass and he snapped it through Miller five-hole.
It all happened so quick I'm not sure anyone saw it.