-- Twenty minutes was enough to put an entire country on pins and needles. The next 40 felt like a giant party across this gigantic land.
After a surprisingly scoreless first period, Canada broke open its pool play opener against Norway with a pair of goals in the first five minutes of the second period. The hosts went on to win 8-0 in front of a raucous red-clad crowd inside Canada Hockey Place.
Jarome Iginla started the parade with the first of his two goals, and Dany Heatley scored to stake Canada to a 2-0 lead before Mike Richards added a goal later in the second period. Ryan Getzlaf, Heatley, Iginla, Corey Perry and Rick Nash added goals in the third period to produce the final result.
Fans flooded the ice with hats when Iginla apparently completed his hat trick with 1:49 remaining, but the goal was later awarded to Nash when officials ruled his shot had not been deflected by Iginla.
Hometown hero Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks went swaths of time without seeing much action, but he was perfect on the 15 shots he faced. Canada killed off five penalties.
It was clear throughout the game that Canada's size, speed and strength were too much for the overmatched Norwegians. However, it took until more than 22 minutes had passed before the Canadians finally turned on the red light.
Iginla brought the house down with Canada's first goal of the Olympics, a power-play goal 2:30 into the second period. He rifled home a one-timer from the high slot, but Sidney Crosby
deserves credit for making the play happen.
Crosby waited patiently in the right circle for the defense to move before feeding Iginla for the easy one-timer.
"The first power-play goal, he put it right on a tee for me," Iginla said. "It was a great pass."
It was the first time in the game that Iginla skated with Crosby. Patrice Bergeron started as the right wing on Crosby's line with Rick Nash on the left, but after Crosby found Iginla on the power play, coach Mike Babcock stuck with Nash, Crosby and Iginla.
Iginla, Nash and Crosby played together at the orientation camp in August. They produced another goal in the third period.
Less than three minutes after Iginla made it 1-0, Heatley struck for his first of the game by getting his stick on Chris Pronger's shot from the left point, deflecting the puck enough so it fooled Norway goalie Pal Grotnes and went into the net at 4:47.
That's when you could feel the pressure leave the building and the party begun.
However, with a 2-0 lead and the ability to breathe a little easier, Canada kept its unrelenting pressure on the helpless Norwegians and cashed in again on Richards' wrap-around goal at 11:06.
Richards scored just as Eric Staal was coming out of the penalty box.
Canada actually killed a 5-on-3 for 48 seconds before Richards' goal. Bergeron was in the box and Staal went for tripping Norway forward Mathis Olimb, who also drew a slashing penalty on Heatley later in the period, a penalty that carried into the third.
Seconds before Staal came out of the box, Bergeron streaked by him and shot the puck wide to the right of the goal. It took a funny bounce off the wall, and Richards was lucky enough to be near the right post to grab the loose puck and wrap it around and in. Norway defenseman Mats Trygg was late arriving, so Richards was untouched.
Norway's best chance came on the power play with Crosby in the box early in the third period for roughing. Forward Tore Vikingstad shot the puck over the goal as Luongo lay prone on his side. Luongo had just made a leg pad save on Patrick Thoresen and left the rebound for Vikingstad.
Shortly after Canada killed off Crosby's roughing penalty, Getzlaf scored with a slick backhand from the slot at 4:29 to make it 4-0. Grotnes was immediately pulled in favor of Andre Lysenstoen.
Canada then went on the power play 6:13 into the third period and 30 seconds later Heatley had his second goal of the game, this time off a slap shot from the top of the left circle that went high over Lysenstoen's blocker.
Not even a minute later, Crosby, Nash and Iginla proved Babcock right for putting them together. They combined on Canada's prettiest goal of the game as Crosby fed it low to Nash, who slid the puck across the crease to Iginla for a slam dunk into the open net at 7:36.
Perry made it 7-0 at 11:03 by pushing a loose puck in the slot into the net after Staal's initial attempt was stopped by Lysenstoen.
Canada outshot Norway, 14-4, in the first period, but failed on a pair of power-play chances. However, the Canadians had their opportunities to break it open early.
Their best chance came late in the period when Crosby was robbed by Grotnes, who made a brilliant glove save. Earlier, Staal shot the puck wide on a semi-breakaway and twice Canada shot it into Grotnes' chest during the first power play.
Crosby and Bergeron nearly combined on a goal at 6:05, but Norway defenseman Alexander Bonsaksen negated that by swarming in and swatting away the loose puck.