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Canada survives to meet U.S. in final

Saturday, 02.27.2010 / 12:25 AM ET / News
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Canada survives to meet U.S. in final
VANCOUVER -- In all reality, this was the dream final from the very beginning.

Canada vs. Russia would have been hyped in the Canadian media for all the history and skill, but Canada vs. the United States for the gold medal on Sunday will bring about a divide so massive and intense that an entire continent could shake.

It's a pair of North American teams on North American ice playing for world hockey supremacy.

Hours after the Americans fulfilled their obligation by crushing Finland, the Canadians survived a scare before finally beating Slovakia, 3-2 on Friday night. The Slovaks, who got two late goals in the third period, will play for the bronze against Finland on Saturday (10 p.m. ET).

The Canadians opened a 2-0 lead in the first period on deflection goals by Patrick Marleau and Brenden Morrow, and Ryan Getzlaf made it 3-0 after 40 minutes with a backhanded shot from the slot.

Roberto Luongo gave up a goal to Lubomir Visnovsky midway through the third period and then Michal Handzus beat him from the slot with 4:53 to play, cutting Canada's once strong 3-0 lead down to 3-2.

Luongo, though, preserved the win in the frantic final moments to lift Canada into the gold medal game.

Eight years ago Canada won its first gold medal in 50 years with a 5-2 win over Team USA on American ice in Salt Lake City. Now the Yanks will have a chance to exact a measure of revenge on Canadian ice by trying to win their first gold medal since the miracle in 1980.

If you thought the building rocked when Canada played Russia in the quarterfinals Wednesday, well look out for pieces of Canada Hockey Place's roof around downtown Vancouver on Sunday because the noise will be strong enough to blow up the building.

It actually started early in the third period when it seemed like everyone in the building was chanting "We want USA." The chant changed later in the period to, "We want the gold."

Team USA already took down Canada in this tournament by a 5-3 margin last Sunday, but Canada felt it won that game in every which way but the scoreboard. The Canadians outshot the Americans, 45-23, and for extended periods exerted their physical will, too.

Both teams came away from that game with confidence. Canada wiped out Germany, Russia and Slovakia by a combined 11 goals. The United States beat Switzerland and Finland by a combined 8-1.

Canada took longer than the U.S. did to get going Friday night. With Visnovsky behind him, Marleau deflected Shea Weber's harmless looking shot from the right point down and past Jaroslav Halak 13:30 into the game.

Team USA scored six times within the first 12:46 against the Finns.

Marleau's goal had to be reviewed by the officials because they were wondering if he held his stick was too high in order to deflect the shot. It was too close to call so they couldn't wave off the goal.

Less than two minutes later, Morrow scored the exact same way with the exact same Slovak defenseman behind him. Again Visnovsky did not take the body on the man in front and Morrow got his stick on Chris Pronger's knuckling shot to score at 15:17.

There was no need to review this one as Pronger's shot was low and Morrow's stick was about an inch or two off the ice. Getzlaf made a nice play in the middle of the zone to poke the puck over to Pronger at the top of the left circle.

Canada got what appeared to be an insurance goal when Getzlaf scored on the power play at 16:54. However, that turned into the game-winning goal because the Slovaks would not go away in the third period.

Visnovsky scored on a backhand off the outer half of Luongo's left leg with 8:25 to play and then Handzus banged the puck in from the slot after Richard Zednik made a nice play to get the puck to the front.

Slovakia may have been guilty of trapping too much through the first two periods. They did a fine job limiting Canada's transition through the neutral zone, but the Slovaks did not counterattack.

Luongo finally made his first big save about 18 minutes into the second period when he went down into the butterfly to stop Zigmund Palffy on a breakaway. Slovakia had nine shots through two periods, but that was the only one that truly tested Luongo.

Canada also did a great job of limiting Slovakia's top two players, Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik. Jonathan Toews' line was matched against Gaborik and Sidney Crosby's line matched against Hossa.

Gaborik, though, did not play in the third period. He came into the Olympics injured with a deep laceration on his right knee, but hasn't missed a game in the tournament.

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com



GAME SUMMARY


SCORING
SVK 0 0 2 - 2
CAN 2 1 0 - 3

First Period

1. CAN, Marleau (Weber, Niedermayer) 13:30

2. CAN, Morrow (Pronger, Getzlaf) 15:17


Penalties - None


Second Period

3. CAN, Getzlaf (Perry, Pronger) 16:54 (PPG)

Penalties - Doughty CAN (hooking) 1:29, Chara SVK (roughing) 6:08, Zednik SVK (holding the stick) 16:34.


Third Period

4. SVK, Visnovsky (Stumpel) 11:35

5. SVK, Handzus (Zednik, Satan) 15:07

Penalties - None

SHOTS ON GOAL
SVK   4   5  12 - 21
CAN  10  11   7 - 28

Goaltenders (goals-shots against) - SVK: Halak (L, 3-21); CAN: Luongo (W, 2-28).

Power plays (goals-chances) - SVK: 0-1; CAN: 1-2.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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