Team Canada drew first blood in the final of the World Cup of Hockey on Tuesday evening, as they defeated Team Europe 3-1 in game one to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Canada defeats Europe in World Cup of Hockey Final Game 1
Canada continued to prove in this game that they may be one of the strongest international teams ever assembled. They came out of the gate hot against the underdog Europeans, thoroughly outskating them in the first period. The top line of Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron were clicking like they have been all tournament, and got on the board just over two minutes into the game.
The line contributed two goals for Canada, with Marchand scoring early and Bergeron adding an insurance marker halfway through the third period. Marchand and Bergeron, teammates with the Boston Bruins, are among the tournament leaders in shots, being set up routinely by Crosby.
For Europe, it wasn’t all bleak. Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar put them on the board in the second period, showing off the speed and skill he’s exhibited all tournament. Defenceman Roman Josi was also good, gaining more and more recognition for his defensive ability and receiving a great deal of responsibility from coach Ralph Krueger.
At this point, it seems Canada is destined to win a tournament that was effectively designed for them to win, but Europe has been a very scrappy underdog throughout the whole event. If key offensive players like Marian Hossa and Leon Draisaitl can contribute more and break through the elite Canadian blueline, it wouldn’t be overly surprising if they scrape out a win in game two. The loss of Marian Gaborik to injury hurts the Europeans severely in this department, but the fact remains that they have an experienced NHL roster and if goalie Jaroslav Halak can pull out a few key saves they may be in with a chance to win a game.
Canada and Europe will clash again on Thursday in game two, with the host Canadians just a win away from clinching the World Cup title.