TORONTO, ON - They were outshot early, but were able to capitalize on a few more chances as Canada beat Europe 3-1 in the opening game of the World Cup of Hockey Final.
Just 2:33 into the game, Patrice Bergeron set up Brad Marchand back door for a 1-0 Canada lead. Sliding to a stop, Marchand lifted the puck over Jaroslav Halak for the go-ahead goal.
Despite being the underdogs to the host team, Europe came to play in the first. With eight minutes remaining in the opening frame they were up 11-5 in shots. The lone tally on the board that mattered though was in Canada's favour as they continued to hold the one-goal lead.
They increased their lead to two at 13:20 of the first. Europe defenceman Zdeno Chara lost the puck at centre ice and Canada's Ryan Getzlaf found Steven Stamkos back door for the goal.
Video: WORLD CUP | Game 1 Recap
Europe piled up some pressure just over five minutes into the second period, but after some scrambles in front for the puck, goaltender Carey Price covered up. Europe was outshooting Canada 19-13 six minutes into the second as they played catch-up.
Europe finally broke through Price on their 20th shot of the game. Tomas Tatar picked up the loose puck in front and buried to make it 2-1 at 7:00 of the second.
At 16:00 of the second, Oilers blueliner Andrej Sekera was stopped by Price on a breakaway that could have tied the game for Europe.
Canada took back their two-goal lead at 9:24 of the third period, as Sidney Crosby worked the puck behind the net and found Bergeron in the slot to make it 3-1.
Halak made a point-blank save a moment later on Logan Couture to keep Canada from increasing their lead.
Halak's big saves late were in vain, however, as Canada would close out their 3-1 victory to move to within one game of winning it all. Game 2 is Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.