-- The dream quarterfinal.
It doesn't quite have the same ring, but the Canadians and Russians will find out who is better in a win-or-go home quarterfinal-round game Wednesday at Canada Hockey Place. Canada did its part to set up the matchup with an 8-2 qualifying-round win over Germany on Tuesday.
It may be three rounds earlier than anyone expected or even wanted, but now we all get to have some fun. It's Sidney Crosby
vs. Alex Ovechkin on the international stage. Hockey superpower vs. hockey superpower.
The rivalry between Ovechkin and Crosby actually started the last time they played each other on the international stage. That came in the 2005 gold-medal game at the World Juniors, when Crosby had an assist in Canada's 6-1 victory in Grand Forks, N.D.
Crosby and Ovechkin have become hockey's most talked about superstars -- and their rivalry has blossomed. It peaked in last year's playoffs, when they had dueling hat tricks in Game 2 and Crosby's Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated Ovi and the Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference semifinals in seven games.
The intensity should be ratcheted up even more Wednesday night with Olympic elimination on the line.
Crosby and Canada knew the matchup with Ovechkin and Russia was looming -- but as promised, they did not overlook Germany.
The Canadians dominated the first period, but led only 1-0 on a goal by Joe Thornton. However, they struck three times within the first 8:50 of the second to go up 4-0.
Shea Weber got them started when his blistering slap shot actually ripped through the net. Play continued because the officials had no idea it was a goal, but once the clock stopped with 16:50 to play it went to review and the replay showed he did, in fact, shoot the puck through the net. The clock had to wind back to 17:28.
Jarome Iginla scored a power-play goal a little over a minute later to give Canada a comfortable 3-0 lead. The Canadians were forced to kill a pair of penalties after Iginla's goal -- but they did, and 16 seconds after the second one expired Iginla scored again. He coasted into the right circle and Eric Staal, who had a monster game, gave him a perfect pass in shooting position. Calgary's captain rifled the puck over Thomas Greiss' glove to make it 4-0.
Crosby had a chance to make it 5-0 with a penalty shot, but Greiss got his catching glove on his backhanded attempt and knocked the puck away. Rick Nash was the one who got tripped up on his way to the net to draw the penalty shot.
Germany got a wraparound goal from Marcel Goc late in the period, but Crosby scored just 1:10 into the third on a redirect of Staal's centering pass to restore Canada's four-goal lead.
It was the third goal of the game from the Staal-Crosby-Iginla line, which coach Mike Babcock put together for this game.
Mike Richards got his first goal of the tournament with 13:19 left in the third period to extend the lead to 6-1. Brenden Morrow and Jonathan Toews had the assists. Scott Niedermayer scored on a breakaway with 8:38 to play to make it 7-1, and Nash beat Greiss with a wrister from the right circle at 16:28.
Germany, playing a neutral zone trap, didn't get its first shot on goal until more than 11 minutes had passed in the first period. Roberto Luongo, who got the start for Canada after Babcock sat Martin Brodeur, allowed a goal by Manuel Klinge with 62 seconds left but finished with 21 saves.