For about 30 minutes, it looked like Jaroslav Halak was going to steal another big game in front of all of Canada. But in the end, facing all of Canada was just too much.
Team Canada beat Team Europe 4-1 on Wednesday night at the World Cup of Hockey, steamrolling the surprising semifinalist and forcing them into a game on Saturday against Sweden, the top seed in the other group.
Halak made 42 saves altogether, and he was flat out spectacular in the first period, making saves like this one on an uncovered Steven Stamkos and John Tavares from about five feet out. Holy shit.
It was 2-0 after one on goals by Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews (who scored during one of Halak’s wayward strolls outside the crease), but Marian Hossa made it 2-1 about five minutes into the second. Europe was much more engaged in the period and had a few chances against Corey Crawford but couldn’t capitalize.
Once Toews scored his second goal of the game - on a two-on-one against a sprawling Roman Josi whose stick broke way back at the other blue line - it was basically over. Canada toyed with Europe in the third, and Logan Couture scored with about four minutes left to ice it.
Tavares was kept off the scoresheet in about 17 minutes of ice time.
So Halak and Europe will play Sweden on Sunday at 1 pm, a time when most Americans have absolutely nothing else they might want to watch. If you go into a Buffalo Wild Wings that afternoon and ask to put the World Cup of Hockey on TV, please let us know what their response is.
Sunday will be Europe/Sweden. Saturday night will be Canada vs either North America or Russia— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 22, 2016
Tomorrow’s afternoon game between Russia and Finland is the only game left that means anything. A win by Russia puts them into a semifinal game against Canada. A loss means Team North America gets into the semifinals. No offense to Russia but I have a feeling most people are rooting for the kids to make it, especially after today’s ridiculous OT win over Sweden.
Team Europe’s ride has also been fun to watch, but when you watch Canada play, they live up to the hype and then some. Enjoy the rest of the tournament, because it might be over soon.
Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger says it's going to take "something magical" for anyone to beat Team Canada at the World Cup.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) September 22, 2016