Pavol Demitra hit the corssbar with eight seconds to play in regulation and Canada dodges a HUGE bullet to advance to the Gold Medal Game on Sunday afternoon. It will be a rematch of the final game of the preliminary round when the United States upset the Canadians, 5-3. Game time is set for 3:15 p.m. and the game will be nationally broadcast on NBC.
The Slovaks continue to buzz around the offensive zone. Luongo makes a great shoulder save on Hossa to keep the Canadians ahead by one.
We are going to have a game here down the stretch after all! Zednik dances to the front of the cage on a stuff attempt. Luongo stops him, but Handzus bats the rebound out of midair to cut Canada's lead to one. Former Penguin Miroslav Satan gets the second assist. Canada 3, Slovakia 2.
As Michael Handzus attempts a wraparound attempt the net falls on top of Luongo, who avoids serious injury.
Maybe we should hold up on these U.S.-Canada highlights a bit. On a delayed penalty call the Slovaks get on the board as Lubomir Visnovsky fights off a defender as he skates down the right side. Visnovsky throws a backhander towards the net, and it deflects off the pad of Luongo and trickles over the goal line. Canada 3, Slovakia 1.
One of the greatest games in USA Hockey history came when the Americans defeated Canada, two games to one, in the 1996 World Cup of Hockey:
Canada is really starting to dominate the action in the offensive zone as the third period nears its midway point.
Fans at Hockey Canada Place are chanting "We want the USA." You know what they say...be wary of what you ask for!!!!
With it looking more and more aparent that it's going to be Canada and the United States in the Gold Medal Game on Sunday, let's take a look at some previous international contests between the two. We start with Canada's 5-2 win over the U.S. in 2002 at Salt Lake City in the championship game:
We are now 20 minutes away from another U.S.-Canada matchup.THIRD PERIOD
With Canada holding a comfortable 3-0 lead after two periods, it looks like Marian Hossa will come up shy yet again in a clutch game. You might remember how his past two experiences in the Stanley Cup Final turned out:
A Ryan Getzlaf power-play goal increases Canada's lead to 3-0 after 40 minutes of play.
Ziggy Palffy gets two of the best chances of the night for Slovakia. First, he gets behind the Canadian defense but sees Roberto Luongo stop his wrist shot. He stays with the play and swipes a loose puck off the post as Slovakia continues to look for their first goal.
I think I called that one. I could barely type in the last entry when Ryan Getzlaf backhanded the rebound of a Corey Perry shot over the glove of Halak. Canada 3, Slovakia 0.
This won't help Canada's cause - a holding-the-stick penalty assessed to Richard Zednik.
Slovakia is starting to make progress offensively - they are at least throwing shots towards the net. Next, they have to create quality chances for themselves.
Fans at Hockey Canada Place (yes, most of them are rooting for the maple leaf sweater) voice their displeasure as Strabak is not called for a tripping penalty behind his own net.
As a huge country music fan, I would feel remissed if I didn't provide a video of my favorite Canadian country singer, Shania Twain:
Slovakia needs to give Halak a tap on the pads because he just committed highway robbery on Crosby's one-timer from three feet away. Pretty pass from Jordan Staal
's older brother, Eric, to the stick of Crosby.
Great job by the Slovakian penalty-killing unit to prevent Canada from getting any good looks as they kill the Chara penalty.
Canada heads on the power play as Zdeno Chara is penalized for elbowing Morrow.
We talked between periods how Slovakia's Martin Strbak saw action with the Penguins back in the '03-04 season. Is anybody else as impressed as I am with how well he has played during these Olympics?
Slovakia can't take advantage of the man-advantage.
18:31: When you are the underdog like Slovakia is, you have to take advantage of golden opportunities such as these. Drew Doughty is in the box for Canada after taking a hooking penalty.
Slovakia needs to find some offense as the puck is dropped to begin the second period. Canada held a 10-4 shots advantage in the opening frame.SECOND PERIOD
In addition to Marian Hossa, Slovakia features three more former Penguins on their roster:
Miroslav Satan helped the Penguins win a Stanley Cup last summer. Ziggy Palffy spent 42 games with the Penguins following the lockout in 2005-06.
Defenseman Martin Strbak saw time with the Penguins during the 2003-04 campaign after being acquired from Los Angeles in a deal which sent Martin Straka to the Kings.
Thanks to goals off the sticks of Brendan Morrow and Patrick Marleau, we are now 40 minutes away from a highly-anticipated rematch between the United States and Canada for the gold medal.
Hossa just had Heatley and Niedermayer combine to steal the puck from him in the offensive zone. Weird, but another big game and nothing offensively yet. (I'm actually a Hossa fan, but I know what sells and let's face it, Pittsburgh loves watching the guy struggle in big games)
Slovakia needs to find some offense quickly, otherwise we could see our second blowout of the day. Morrow deflects a snap shot from Chris Pronger through his legs and past Halak for his second goal of the tournament. Canada 2, Slovakia 0.
Canada has always been known for producing great hockey talent (See: Lemieux, Mario and Crosby, Sidney). They've also developed some pretty good singers as well. Is there a voice in the world that can reach the notes of Celine Dion?
Marleau made a great play on the deflection, but Weber's hard shot is what made the goal happen. Hopefully hockey fans around the country are getting a chance to see how good Weber is. For my money, I'd rank him in the top-5 right now. Weber is definitely a future Norris Trophy winner.
Canada strikes first. Dany Heatley works the puck back to Scott Niedermayer at the left point. Niedermayer moves the puck to his partner, Shea Weber on the right side. Weber sends a wrist shot towards Halak, and Patrick Marleau deflects the shot under Halak. Canada 1, Slovakia 0.
Still no score in the first period as the Canadians are outshooting the Slovaks, 5-2. This game doesn't quite have the offensive explosion we saw earlier this afternoon at this point.
We are almost eight minutes into the contest and we have failed to mention one of the dominant storylines in this contest. A Canada victory would allow Crosby to once again torment his former linemate, Marian Hossa. I'm guessing the background story there doesn't need to be rehashed again.
Crosby looks like he brought his A-game (nothing new there, actually). He just went through three Slovaks to set Jarome Iginla up for a great look in the slot, but Iginla's shot missed the cage.
Maybe this is just a personal thing, but how awesome if the pace of these Olympic Games without as many long stoppages between the play?
16:38: Sidney Crosby
shows a burst of speed to move around Andrej Sekera but the puck rolls just off his stick as he goes to shoot on Jaroslav Halak.
Canada's Brendan Morrow just missed an open cage as the Canadians have the first chance to open the scoring.
Who will it be oppposing the U.S. - Canada or Slovakia?!?!FIRST PERIOD
As we get set for the drop of the puck between Canada and Slovakia, enjoy the playing of "O' Canada' by legendary Ottawa Senators anthem singer Lyndon Slewidge.