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Sudden Gold For Canada

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
By Dan Rosen |

VANCOUVER -- Paul Henderson step aside. You no longer have the most important goal in Canadian hockey history.

Sidney Crosby is the newest sports hero in his country, and isn't that just fitting.

Crosby scored 7:40 into overtime at Canada Hockey Place to lift Canada to a 3-2 win in the gold medal game of the 2010 Winter Olympics. He threw off his gloves, jumped into the corner, got mobbed by his teammates and sent an entire country into a wild celebration.

"Sid The Kid," who has been Canada's most visible and important player ever since coming onto the scene in 2005, stamped his image into the heart of a nation by ripping a low shot through USA goalie Ryan Miller's legs from the lower part of the left circle.

Crosby played the puck off the half boards and got it into the corner to Jarome Iginla, who fed it back to No. 87 for the winning shot. Canada rebounded after giving up its lead in the waning seconds of regulation.

With the crowd going bonkers in the final minute, counting down to what it always felt was an inevitable gold medal, Team USA struck for the thrilling tying goal by Zach Parise with 24.4 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.

Patrick Kane's shot from the right circle hit Jamie Langenbrunner's skate in the high slot. Parise, who was in his customary spot right in front of the net, had the puck come right to him and he wrapped it into the net, setting off a wild celebration by the Americans.

The play started after Team USA won a faceoff to Roberto Luongo's left with 55 seconds remaining (following a Canada timeout). Jonathan Toews lifted the puck to center ice, but the Americans got it back in and Joe Pavelski got the puck to Kane before he could shoot to set up the goal.

Team USA coach Ron Wilson called a timeout with 1:17 left to regroup with a faceoff to Luongo's left. At this point, Miller was out of the net, giving Team USA a 6-on-5 advantage.

After calling his own timeout, Babcock added replaced Mike Richards with Ryan Getzlaf on his shutdown line with Toews and Rick Nash, but it didn't matter. Parise scored with 24.4 seconds to go.

Everybody in the building had a chance to catch their breath after the buzzer sounded because the machines came out to clean the ice, setting up the 20-minute sudden victory overtime.

Canada had plenty of chances to put this one away when it was ahead 2-1, starting with Eric Staal's breakaway in the final minute of the second period. He shot the puck high over the left side of the net.

Canada was twice inches away from taking a commanding two-goal lead early in the third, but a pair of deflected shots rang off the post.

There was barely any open space on the ice as the third period wore on as both teams fought for every inch of it. When the goalies could, they caught the puck and froze it just to give the players a break.

Finally with 10 minutes to go, Canada found an opening when Kane turned the puck over in front of Miller, but the goalie made two tremendous stops, including one on Dany Heatley with his right leg stretched out to keep Team USA within striking distance.

Sidney Crosby had another chance with about 3:15 to play to put this one away, but he flubbed a breakaway with Kane backchecking hard, disabling Crosby's deke.

Canada grabbed a 1-0 lead after the first period on a rebound goal by Toews 12:50 into the game after a bad U.S. turnover.

Instead of rimming the puck around the boards, Erik Johnson fed a short pass up to Brian Rafalski, but Mike Richards took it away from him and got a shot on Miller. The rebound came out past the right post and Toews got behind Rafalski and Johnson to roof it.

The Canadians appeared to take control when Perry scored 7:13 into the second to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.

Getzlaf brought the puck into the one and the left circle before sending a backhanded pass to the middle. American defenseman Ryan Whitney got his stick on it, but the puck settled perfectly for Perry in the high slot and he shot it high past Miller.

Brooks Orpik didn't take the body on Getzlaf, allowing him to get a backhanded pass off from the left circle. Joe Pavelski was late also late on backchecking against Perry.

But a hard dash to the net by hometown boy Kesler got the U.S. on the board with 7:16 left in the second and it was 2-1 Canada after two periods.

Kane got a pass on the rush from Kesler and brought it to the top of the right circle before firing a wrist shot. Kesler, who was dashing down the middle, got his stick on Kane's shot to bother it just enough so the puck could tuck just inside Luongo's right arm.

The intensity was ferocious right from the start with both teams flying around the ice and bodies fall all over the place. Orpik even checked Heatley into the U.S. bench and with the linesman right there, he gave him an extra shove 8:15 into the game.

Soon after the Americans had their first chance when Dustin Brown made a strong move to get around Los Angeles teammate Drew Doughty and put the puck on net. It squirted behind Luongo's right calf, but Duncan Keith pushed it against his leg to freeze it at 9:54.

Canada scored about three minutes later and controlled the play until the first buzzer. Getzlaf and Jack Johnson had words after the buzzer sounded, sending the teams off into the locker rooms with everyone counting down to the second period.

Ryan Malone high sticked Perry right in front of the U.S. bench to give Canada a power play 2:33 into the second. The Canadians, who were already 0-for-1 with the man-advantage, couldn't do anything with this one either.

Chris Drury blocked shots from Shea Weber and Dan Boyle and Miller made solid saves on Joe Thornton at the right post and Drew Doughty from the high slot.

Team USA didn't fare any better on its two power plays in the second period. On each occasion the Canadians did a great job of not even allowing the Americans into the zone.

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