Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY SPORTS
Look, I’m not going to bore you with a lot of details here, because this game probably already did a pretty damn good job of boring you with its action. Or lack thereof, rather. Team Canada cruised it’s way to an easy 3-1 victory in front of a half-full and nearly entirely indifferent Air Canada Centre, setting itself up for a game that actually matters on Thursday night.
Team Europe actually took the first few shots in the outing, even getting a scoring chance before Canada even had an opportunity to take a shot. Not that it mattered, though; the Bruins chunk of the first line, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, went to work and gave the host nation a 1-0 lead in the early moments of the first period. Ten minutes later, the lead was doubled as Ryan Getzlaf instigated as similar cross-crease play to Steven Stamkos, who finally scored his first goal of the tournament.
Midway through the second period, Tomas Tatar appeared to give the Europeans some light by grabbing a juicy rebound in front of Carey Price and slipping it into a partially open net, cutting the lead in half. But that’s as close as this game got. Bergeron responded to Marchand’s goal with one of his own midway through the third period, as the Canadians pulled back into the lead in shots on goal and cruised their way to victory.
There really wasn’t much to phone home about, overall. Canada’s first line dominated, their back three lines held the fort, not too many penalties were called after the Marchand infraction just a couple of minutes in, and Canada simply looked in a class of their own.
Clearly, this was not the final that the league was hoping for, and not the one the fans were either, as reflected by the attendance. At best, there appeared to be 12,000 or so in the building, and the “Party in Maple Leaf Square” didn’t come close to what the team was receiving when the Leafs or Raptors were in the playoffs over the past few years. Until the Blue Jays game across the street ended, you could count those watching on the big screen on your hands; a scary thought, all things considered. Hopefully things are better on Thursday night, when something is actually at stake for the host country.