CANADA 7 RUSSIA 3
It is insane in here. I can barely hear my thoughts loud enough to string a sentence together. To my left, the Russian section, to my right, the Canadian crew.
I'd say fans are 60/40 in favour of Canada. We'll see if they can overpower the Russian cheering charge.
The most anticipated hockey game since 1972 began with a Canadian goal just 2:21 in.
Canada’s second shot on goal was a Ryan Getzlef one-timer into an empty cage after Dan Boyle sent him a sick pass after drawing Russian netminder Evgeni Nabokov out of position.
Roberto Luongo’s first test was an Alex Semin slap shot that he turned aside with his left pad.
Luongo was forced to be sharp a short while later with Brent Seabrook called for interference on Alexei Morozov, despite an obvious dive from the Russian captain.
Canada killed the power play and earned one of its own when Anton Volchenkov tripped up Sidney Crosby as he cut in on the Russia net down the left side.
The home nation made quick work of the man advantage. Tic-tac-toe, Patrick Marleau to Dany Heatley to Dan Boyle, to the back of the goal. I’m not mathematician but three Sharks forwards will always get the best of one Sharks netminder.
Forty-six seconds after the Boyle goal, Canada struck again.
Mike Richards made the play to intercept the puck in the Canada zone, he sent Jonathan Toews ahead with it on a 2-on-1 with Rick Nash. Toews fed Nash as he flew in ahead, Nash went top shelf over a sprawling Nabokov.
Time out Russia.
The Russians responded from a horrid start by scoring their first goal, a Dmitri Kalinin wrist shot from just inside the blueline that beat a screened Luongo just under the cross bar on the right side.
Brenden Morrow restored Canada’s three goal lead with a great individual effort. From deep in the Russian zone with no support, Morrow walked out from the corner and flicked the puck on goal. What should have been a routine save for Nabokov trickled through his legs and in the net.
Canada is leading on the scoreboard and in the shots column (21-12), but more importantly, the red and white are winning battles all over the ice.
Nabokov is back between the pipes for Russia. Not sure why the Russians wouldn’t give Ilya Bryzgalov a shot after Nabby’s poor first period…
Russia sticking with Nabokov worked in Canada’s favour 3:10 in when Corey Perry slid a rebound into an empty goal with Nabokov unable to get across his crease.
Canada took a 6-1 lead on the very next shot, a Shea Weber bullet that beat Nabokov under the blocker from a ways out.
In comes Bryzgalov. Nabokov finished with 17 saves on 23 shots.
A swap of tenders sparked the Russians as their next rush down the ice Maxim Afinogenov beat Luongo from in close.
Don’t worry, I was thinking it too: will six goals be enough to outlast the Russians?
Canada went to work on a seventh at the midway point of the period. Ryan Getzlef picked the puck up at centre and went in with a head of steam, he advanced it to Eric Staal, who instinctually sent a cross-ice pass to Perry for his second goal of the game.
The second five-goal lead for Canada was short-lived as Russia scored on a too-many-men power play when Gonchar ripped a shot inside the left post.
It’s 7-3 Canada after 40 minutes.
Shots are 30-19 for Canada.
Eric Staal took a hit from behind as he chased a puck in the Russia end 1:45 into the third frame. Volchenkov was the guilty party, but no call was made on the play.
Canada was awarded a man advantage a few seconds later when Gonchar took a seat for hooking.
Jarome Iginla came an inch from scoring when he tipped a Crosby shot in front, but it hit the post and stayed out.
Staal returned to the game following the power play and was fine.
The strong Canadian attack continued throughout the period, whereas Russia’s attack was almost nonexistent. With eight minutes to play Russia had only three shots on goal.
The Russians started to pick up their play late in the game drawing a penalty on Chris Pronger with 5:23 to play.
Russia’s best scoring chance came on an Evgeni Malkin breakaway. He tried to score low blocker side and Luongo was there for the right pad save.
True to form, at the three minute mark the Canadian fans began a NAH NAH NAH HEY HEY HEY GOODBYE chant.
It was epic.
Not as epic as Canada’s 7-3 win over Russia to move on to the semi-final!
What a game.
Click here for Luongo's post-game comments.