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2016 World Cup of Hockey: Half speed Canada still enough to beat Europe in Game 1

Not what we expected, and yet exactly what we expected.

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 Final - Game One - Europe v Canada
A little of this goes a long way.
Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

It wasn’t the ass kicking it was expected to be, but Team Canada is nonetheless one win away from winning the World Cup of Hockey because even when they aren’t going full steam ahead, they’re still miles beyond anyone else.

Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron both scored and Carey Price made 32 saves in Canada’s 3-1 win over Team Europe on Tuesday night. Steven Stamkos also had a goal for Canada, which has outscored its opposition 22-7 in the tournament.

Marchand leads all players at the tournament with four goals. Stamkos’ goal was his first of the tournament. Both of those statements are true and also completely nuts.

The first two periods weren’t Canada at its best. Europe had a couple of good chances on its first shift and outshot Canada for the period 13-9. Down 2-0 going into the second, Tomas Tatar scored his third of the tournament to get Europe within one.

Canada tightened up defensively in the third, and Bergeron sealed the game when he redirected a shot from Sidney Crosby, who had danced and twisted and turned in about 30 different directions behind the net to shake Mark Streit and feed Bergeron on the backhand.

Okay, okay, I’ll get to the important stuff: Jaroslav Halak looked good again, making 35 saves in the loss. Every goal against him was borderline unfair for a single human goalie to stop and they all fit squarely into the Butch Goring Zone (“Nothing he could do about that one, Howie”). He did all he could to keep his team in the game, but without Marian Gaborik (broken foot), Europe is going to be hard-pressed to score on Price. Or at least, more hard-pressed than they already were.

John Tavares had an active game and four shots on goal, but did not finish with any points.

Team Europe has already proven that they’re a worthy opponent and a noble experiment. It gets one more chance to keep the tournament going on Thursday night.