Crosby’s line lifts Canada within win of World Cup title

Team Canada centre Sidney Crosby battles for the puck against Europe centre Frans Nielsen during the third period of Canada's 3-1 win in game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey best-of-three final in Toronto Tuesday

Shots were 32-31 for Canada at even-strength, a slight advantage over a vastly inferior opponent.

That lone wolf is Steven Stamkos, whose Team Canada takes on Team Europe in the best-of-three final that begins tonight.

“It’s different, not being there at camp, but that’s the situation”, Crosby said Tuesday.

“That’s fair, actually. When you go to the Olympic Games, the swimmer in the heats who swims the fastest gets the best lane; that’s how it should be”.

Said Thomas Vanek, the lone Austrian: “I know we don’t have Austrian jerseys on, but I get lots of texts and phone calls from friends back home. We realize the first two periods weren’t the way we wanted to come out and play”. But a win’s a win. It certainly showed that we can play with them.

There’s no one to blame for the results shaking out the way they have, but one of the built-in challenges for the World Cup was always going to be appealing to fans once their team is out.

There were a few tense moments on the ice following the goal for Team Europe as the goal was under review to ensure Tatar didn’t kick the puck into the net. The lone goal he gave up was off of a bad bounce in front where he anticipated a shot that ended up hitting a body. A shaky start to Jaroslav Halak’s evening saw the first Canadian shot of the game from Brad Marchand give the Canadians a 1-0 lead. The two sides rematch on Thursday in a must-win game for Europe.

In between periods and again after the game Team Canada talked about it. Babcock thought his toughest action may have come in the third period of a semifinal win against Russian Federation. Through five games, the trio of Canadians has combined for 22 total points.

“You’d like things to be ideal every night, but it’s just not real”, Babcock said.

At the end of the second period, it was 2-1 after Tomas Tatar scored his third goal in two games for Team Europe. Price made his biggest stop nine minutes later, turning aside Andrej Sekera on a short-handed breakaway. When the puck popped out on a ideal pass right to Perry’s stick they scrambled to do something, anything, but were too late and too far away to stop him from getting off a very solid shot on Halak.

“Two cities, only night games”, Babcock said. “It weird to even be saying (that Crosby has not played better) with all that he has accomplished in his career”, Stamkos said. A third and final game is scheduled for Saturday (Oct.2), if necessary.

The line of Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron has been about as outstanding as you could get in a tournament such as this.

“I think early on we were a little bit loose, a little bit loose with the puck”, said defenceman Alex Pietrangelo.

These three players are the leading scorers of the tournament.

TORONTO (AP) – Rene Fasel says he feels better about the chances of having National Hockey League players compete at the 2018 Olympics than he did earlier this year.

Uh, no. So don’t hold out hope for a building-filling, bounce-back in Thursday’s Game 2, not after Canada’s less-than-electric performance in the opener still concluded in a 3-1 Canada victory. Between the pair, Marchand/Crosby have produced six goals (12 points) in four games (averaging three points/gp).

Game 1 of the 2016 World Cup final is scheduled for Tuesday at 8 pm ET while the Blue Jays/Orioles start an hour earlier. Their responsible, disciplined play under former Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger was again evident against Canada. Besides, we want him out of Mike Babcock’s ire. After all, Switzerland did beat Canada at the Torino Olympics in 2006 and lost in a shootout to the Canadians at Vancouver 2010.

As soon as you start giving teams like this second chances in a multi-game series, though, that’s when it gets hard to imagine the European squad pulling off a miracle upset.