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World cup of hockey: Key points to a Final

World cup of hockey: Key points to a Final

Posted by PanamericanWorld on September 27, 2016

It will take an upset of monumental proportion for Team Europe to edge Canada twice in the best-of-three World Cup of Hockey final.

  • Can anyone contain Sidney Crosby? So far the answer has been a resounding no. Crosby has scored the first goal in three of Canada’s four wins and leads the World Cup with seven points, including a hearty three-point performance against Russia in the semifinals.

The 29-year-old has clicked perfectly with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, with the trio combining for eight goals. 

European head coach Ralph Krueger will have to employ either Roman Josi and Dennis Seidenberg against the Crosby unit or the aging duo of Zdeno Chara and Andrej Sekera. Either way the matchup favours Canada.

  • Slowing Crosby is just the start: Even if Europe manages to contain Crosby, Canada still has three other tough lines to tangle with.

Ryan Getzlaf, John Tavares and Steven Stamkos were an especially heavy force against Russia, finally breaking through against Sergei Bobrovsky with Tavares’s first goal of the tournament in the third period. And Stamkos looks to be due. “He’s been in on a ton of scoring chances and once that floodgate opens it could stay open for a while,” Canadian GM Doug Armstrong said.

Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry and Logan Couture will likely be tasked with shutting down Europe’s top line of Anze Kopitar, Marian Hossa and Tomas Tatar, but they’re hardly slouches in the offensive end. Toews and Couture both have four points and Perry has a pair of goals.

  • Europe will need some magic to beat Canada twice: More than six years have ticked by since Canada lost even once in a best-on-best format. “They pretty much bull-rushed through everybody to the final and we’re going to have to play our very best,” Kopitar said. “There can’t be an area where we can’t be good at.”

Canada has outscored foes 19-6, outshot them 44-29 on average and trailed twice in four games — once for 89 seconds, the second time for one minute and 12 seconds against Russia.

  • Halak must outplay Price — twice: Jaroslav Halak made 42 saves in a preliminary round loss to Canada, sturdy but not quite good enough. “He’s been outstanding,” Krueger said. “Everybody in this room knows we wouldn’t be here without fabulous goaltending, and a world-class performance by Jaro Halak has helped us a lot.”
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