Canada avoided a mid-game scare from a determined Russian squad, roaring back with three third-period goals to remain undefeated and advance to the World Cup Of Hockey finals with a 5-3 semifinal win, retaining the International Hockey Lineal Championship in the process.
The game began promisingly enough for Canada, with captain Sidney Crosby opening the scoring at 7:40 after stripping Dmitri Kulikov of the puck alone in front of keeper Sergei Bobrovski, undressing him with a nifty backhand for the early lead. However, like in their previous matchup, Bobrovski stood on his head following the early goal, facing 33 shots in the first two periods, while his counterpart Carey Price saw only 15. Russia also successfully killed off three straight first period penalties, cooling down the red-hot Team Canada power play.
Russia would draw even midway through the second, with Nikita Kucherov and Vladimir Tarasenko sprung for a two-on-one against Drew Doughty, with Kucherov maintaining possession and sniping a bullet off the post and in past Price to tie the game. Yevgeni Kuznetsov silenced the crowd eight minutes later after tapping in an Ivan Telegin rebound alone in front of Price, shocking the hometown crowd with just the second time Team Canada trailed in the entire tournament. Brad Marchand would rip a one-timer off a Crosby feed off a faceoff a minute later to tie things up, but the heat was on from a feisty Russian squad.
Or so everyone thought. Canada came roaring out of the locker room in the third, with Marchand striking again off a Crosby drop pass wrister through traffic that fooled Bobrovski just moments after “Bob” robbed Marchand one-on-one, with Canada regaining the lead. Corey Perry would quickly double up on that lead, taking advantage of a fallen Bobrovski after a Logan Couture wraparound attempt to maneuver the puck between his skates, and lift the rebound top shelf and in for the 4-2 lead. John Tavares would strike with a dangle of his own four minutes later to increase the lead to 5-2, and despite a late Artemi Panarin goal for the Russians, the onslaught buried Russia, punching Canada’s ticket to their third straight World Cup (and eighth straight Canada/World Cup) final.
With the victory, Canada retains the International Hockey Lineal Championship, their 62nd title all-time, which they won from Team USA in a pre-tournament matchup, and retained against Russia in exhibition play, and against the Czechs and Americans in group play. In the 89th IHLC meeting all-time between these two since their first showdown in 1954, Canada improves to three straight wins against Russia (since the Gold Medal Game at the 2015 World Championships), although the Russians still lead the all-time series 52-24-13. Canada also improves to 3-0 in IHLC wins over Russia at the World Cup, improving on wins in 1996 and 2004.
Canada will now meet the winner of the Sweden-Team Europe semifinal in the best-of-three World Cup finals, although the IHLC may not join them. If Sweden wins, they will compete for the IHLC, but if Europe advances, the IHLC’s run in Toronto will end here, as Europe does not represent a national team, and thus the game does not count towards the IHLC rankings. In this scenario, Canada would hold on to the title until November, where they will be participating at the Deutschland Cup.
05:06 – PEN – Bouwmeester, hooking
07:40 – GOAL – Crosby
09:10 – PEN – Burns, tripping
13:04 – PEN – Tarasenko, roughing
15:29 – PEN – Zaitsev, tripping
18:28 – PEN – Kuznetsov, high sticking
28:47 – GOAL – Kucherov (Zaitsev, Malkin)
36:24 – GOAL – Kuznetsov (Telegin, Dadonov)
37:36 – GOAL – Marchand (Crosby, Bergeron)
41:16 – GOAL – Marchand (Crosby, Bergeron)
41:37 – PEN – Getzlaf, slashing
45:48 – GOAL – Perry (Couture, Vlasic)
49:22 – GOAL – Tavares (Getzlaf, Vlasic)
59:51 – GOAL – Panarin (Kulyomin, Kucherov)
W: Price (31-34)
L: Bobrovski (42-47)
SHOTS ON GOAL
17+16+14 = 47
7+8+19 = 34
Goaltenders: Corey Crawford, Carey Price. Defence: Jay Bouwmeester, Brent Burns, Drew Doughty, Alex Pietrangelo, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Shea Weber (A). Forwards: Patrice Bergeron, Logan Couture, Sidney Crosby (C), Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf, Brad Marchand, Ryan O’Reilly, Corey Perry, Steven Stamkos, John Tavares, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews (A).
Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovski, Semyon Varlamov. Defence: Dmitri Kulikov, Alexei Marchenko, Andrei Markov (A), Nikita Nesterov, Dmitri Orlov, Alexei Yemelin, Nikita Zaitsev. Forwards: Artyom Anisimov, Yevgeni Dadonov, Nikita Kucherov, Nikolai Kulyomin, Yevgeni Kuznetsov, Yevgeni Malkin (A), Vladislav Namestnikov, Alexander Ovechkin (C), Artemi Panarin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Ivan Telegin.