It was the first day of the World Cup of Hockey live from the Air Canada Centre in beautiful downtown Toronto. There were two games on the docket for day one — Team Europe clashing with the Americans and Team Canada taking on the Czech Republic.
Team Europe came out firing on all cylinders and took the first game of the World Cup by a score of 3-0. It was a game many believed the Americans had in the bag, but it just goes to show that in a short tournament, anything can happen.
Team Canada was hoping to avoid being upset at the hands of the Czech Republic in the primetime night game. They did exactly what they needed to do, as they pounded the Czech side 6-0. It was a flawless victory for the Canadian squad, who got key contributions from important players such as captain Sidney Crosby and goaltender Carey Price.
The Perfect Opener
Team Canada is arguably the best hockey nation in the world at the moment. The defending gold medalists of both Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, the Canadian squad is on top of its game.
Their first opponent in the World Cup was an underrated Czech team that looked good in exhibition play. Many were expecting a Canadian victory, but not in the fashion that was displayed on the ice. It’s natural to allow a few goals, as many of these games are going to be close affairs.
The Canadian squad allowed none, with Carey Price making some spectacular stops along the way. Price was the less busy of the goaltenders on the night, and despite not facing a ton of action, he was spectacular when called upon. That’s excellent news for Team Canada and the Montreal Canadiens, who are hoping their star netminder can regain his pre-injury form.
Carey Price hasn't allowed a goal in international play since the first period against Latvia at 2014 Olympics. Four consecutive shutouts.
— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) September 18, 2016
Canadian captain Sidney Crosby was in mid-season form on the night, collecting a goal and two assists. The top line of Crosby, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand was absolutely dominant, collecting points in the offensive zone and playing a sound defensive game everywhere else.
With a goal and two assists so far tonight Sidney Crosby has matched his production from the Sochi Olympics in less than two periods.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) September 18, 2016
The Czech’s were simply outplayed. They had some excellent chances early on, but they began to fade midway through the first period. After that, Canada took over and the rest is history. They dominated every facet of this game, and head coach Mike Babcock will surely be looking for the same kind of effort the rest of the tournament.
If there is something to criticize it’s that, early on, Team Canada appeared to have some trouble breaking cleanly out of their own zone. That could be attributed to a number of things, but the issue appeared to be resolved as the game went on. It might be worth keeping and eye on Mike Babcock and the coaching staff just in case.
Canada will now have a bit of break, and will look to improve to 2-0 in the World Cup when they take on the rival American squad on Tuesday.