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Olympic Hockey: Crosby Clinches Gold For Canada

Canada’s assistant captain Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) had been rather quiet in the Olympic tournament, and through three periods, hadn’t recorded a point in the gold medal game.

Crosby finally struck in overtime, scoring the game-winning goal to defeat the U.S., 3-2, and clinch the gold medal.

Crosby scored the game-winner 2:20 into the extra period. Canadian right-winger Jarome Iginla (Calgary Flames) sent a pass to Crosby, who slid a shot under the pads of Team USA goalie Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) for the goal.

Sidney Crosby celebrates after winning the gold medal in men's hockey Sunday. Crosby's overtime winner clinched Canada's first Olympic hockey medal on home soil. Photo Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

It was the second game-winning goal for Crosby in the tournament. He previously scored a shootout goal to defeat Switzerland during round robin play.

Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) and Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks) put Canada ahead, 2-0, in the final game of the Olympics.

Toews opened the scoring at 7:10 of the first period with his first goal of the tournament. Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers) stole the puck from Team USA defenseman Brian Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings) and put a shot on Miller. The rebound bounced to Toews, who put the puck into the net for the goal.

Perry increased the lead by two at 12:47 of the second. Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) carried the puck into the U.S. zone and attempted a pass to Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks). The pass hit Marleau’s skate, and Perry picked up the loose puck and beat Miller for the goal.

Then the U.S. staged their comeback.

Ryan Kessler put the Americans on the board at 7:22 of the third period. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) shot the puck, and Kessler tipped the puck on net. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks) got a piece of it, but the puck slid across the goal line.

With the U.S. down by a goal late in the third period, Miller came to the bench for an extra attacker. With

Zach Parise, right, starts the celebration after slipping the puck by Roberto Luongo to tie the game with 24 seconds remaining in the game.

six men on the ice, Kane shot a puck that Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) tipped on Luongo. The Canadian goalie made the first save, but Parise put home the puck for the game tying goal with 24.4 seconds left.

That set the stage for Crosby to bring home the gold.

With the win, Canada became the first host country in 30 years to capture a men’s hockey gold. Canada became the first host country other than the U.S. to win gold as the host country.

The U.S. men clinched their first medal on foreign soil since a silver medal finish in the 1972 games in Sapporo, Japan.

Luongo finished with 34 saves in the win. Miller stopped 36 shots in the loss.

After the game, Parise was named to the all-tournament team. Despite the loss, Miller took home the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

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The NHL will resume games tomorrow night. The Red Wings will travel to Colorado to take on the Avalanche. The game will be on Versus at 9 p.m. The Devils play Tuesday night in San Jose.

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Olympic Hockey: Canada, USA Battle For Gold

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The Matchup: Team USA (5-0-0-0) faces off against Team Canada (4-1-1-0). This is the second meeting between the two teams in the Olympic tournament.

The Last Team USA Game: The U.S. scored six goals in the opening 12:46 to defeat Finland, 6-1, in their semifinal matchup Friday afternoon. Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) scored two goals, and Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) added a goal in the victory. Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) finished with 18 saves before being replaced at 8:49 in the third period.

The Last Team Canada Game: Team Canada scored three early goals and held on to defeat TeamSlovakia, 3-2, in their semifinal matchup Friday night. Patrick Marleau (San Jose Sharks), Brenden Morrow (Dallas Stars) and Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) all scored for Canada. Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks) finished with 19 saves.

The Last Team USA – Team Canada Game: Team USA and Team Canada squared off in their final round robin game before the elimination rounds last Sunday. It was a back and forth affair until Chris Drury (New York Rangers) scored a goal at 16:46 of the second period. Jamie Langenbrunner (New Jersey Devils) scored the game winner with a powerplay goal at 7:09 of the third period. Miller finished with 42 saves in the win.

Today’s Matchup: When these teams last met, Team Canada was able to constantly attack Team USA’s defense. It seemed as if the Canadian’s spent most of the game in Team USA’s zone. Miller had to be phenomenal, and it was his effort that kept the Americans in the game. Without Miller’s play, the US wouldn’t have survived that game. The Americans were also aided by Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils), who didn’t play his greatest game.

But now the team takes on a different beast. By changing a few lines and putting in Luongo, Canada seems to have found their stride. Both teams are playing the underdog card, but the Americans are still overmatched. In this battle of all-star lineups, Canada seems to have better chemistry with their lines. But you can never bet against a hot goaltender and a confident, brash young team. This will, once again, be a dogfight until the end. But I can see both teams hoisting gold medals after the final buzzer.

The game will be on NBC at 3:15 p.m.

Olympic Hockey: Team USA Scores Six Goals In First Period, Defeats Finland, 6-1

February 26, 2010 1 comment

Team USA’s last Olympic medal on foreign soil since came in 1972, when they won silver in Sapporo, Japan.

In their semifinal game against Finland, it took the team 12:46 to guarantee they end that streak.

Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) scored two goals in the first period to lead Team USA to victory, 6-1, over Team Finland in their semifinal game in Vancouver.

The United States only needed the opening 12:46 of the first period to put the game out of reach. Ryan Malone (Tampa Bay Lightning) began the scoring merely 2:04 into the first period. Finnish goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames) came out to the slot to play a loose puck. Malone intercepted his pass at the blue line and fired the puck into the empty net for the goal, his third of the Olympics.

Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) fires a shot past Miikka Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames) for Team USA's second goal of the game. Photo Credit: Getty Images

Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) stretched the lead to two with a powerplay goal at 6:22 of the period. With Janne Niskala in the box for interference, Brian Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings) shot the puck from the point. The puck found Paul Statsny (Colorado Avalanche) on the crease. Statsny passed the puck to a streaking Parise, who one-timed the puck to the top of the net for the goal.

Then the rout was on.

Erik Johnson (St. Louis Blues) extended the lead to three with a powerplay goal at 8:36 of the period. Johnson got a pass from Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks) and ripped a shot from the right circle that beat Kiprusoff for the goal.

Then it was Kane’s time to shine.

Kane scored his first goal of the period at 10:08 of the first period. Kane collected the rebound from his backhand shot and put the puck into the net for the goal.

After that goal, Kiprusoff removed himself from the game. He faced seven shots, only making three saves.

Kane welcomed new goaltender Niklas Backstrom (Minnesota Wild) to the game with his second goal at 12:31 of the period. Rafalski passed the puck to Kane, who fired a shot past Backstrom for the goal.

Statsny ended the American scoring run with his goal twenty seconds later. Jamie Langenbrunner (New Jersey Devils) sent a pass to Statsny, who one-timed the pass by Backstrom’s glove for the goal

Team USA goalie Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) finished with 18 saves before being replaced by Tim Thomas (Boston Bruins) 8:49 into the third period. Thomas finished with six saves.

The USA will face the winner of tonight’s Canada-Slovakia in the gold-medal game Sunday¬†(3:15, NBC).

Olympic Hockey: Finland and USA Play For A Shot At Gold

February 26, 2010 Leave a comment

The Matchup: Team USA (4-0-0-0) faces off against Team Finland (3-0-0-1). This is the first meeting of the two teams in the Olympics.

Ryan Miller and Team USA face off against Finland today at 3 p.m.

The Last Team USA Game: On Wednesday, Team USA faced off against Switzerland in the quarterfinal round. The teams were scoreless in the third period until Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) broke the tie with a powerplay goal at 2:08 of the period. He added an empty-net goal at 19:49 to ice the victory.

The Last Team Finland Game: On Wednesday night, Team Finland faced off against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinal round. The teams were scoreless in the third period until Niklas Hagman (Calgary Flames) broke the tie with a powerplay goal at 6:26 of the period. Valtteri Filppula (Detroit Red Wings) iced the victory with an empty net goal at 18:25 of the period. Finnish goalie Mikka Kiprusoff (Calgary Flames) finished with 31 saves.

The Last Team USA – Team Finland Game: The last time the two teams played, in the 2006 Torino Olympics, Finland defeated the US, 4-3. Team USA leads the all-time series, 6-3-2.

This Afternoon’s Game: Many of the previews I’ve read for the game think this will be a light-hitting affair. But I’m going to go with the opposite. In order to establish themselves, I believe the US needs to dominate the physical game early. If they can set the tone there, then they can have some momentum. However, physical play won’t be the only factor for the US. The Finnish team will pressure the Americans on the forecheck, and they will attempt to capitalize on the mistakes. The US doesn’t have to play a perfect game, but they need to execute. Bad turnovers will lead to quality scoring chances, and Finland is a team that can bury those chances.

The game will be on NBC at 3 p.m. Canada and Slovakia will face off at 9:30 tonight.

Olympic News: USA, Canada, Finland, Slovakia Advance To Semifinals

February 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Four teams moved on to the semifinals tonight. Here’s a recap of the games:

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Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) tallied two goals in the third period as Team USA defeated Switzerland, 2-0, to move into the semifinal round of the Olympic tournament yesterday in Vancouver.

Parise broke a scoreless tie 2:08 into the third period. With Team USA on a powerplay, defenseman Brian

Devils teammates Zach Parise (left) and Jamie Langenbrunner celebrate Parise's second goal in the third period of Team USA's 2-0 Olympic quarterfinal win over Switzerland. Photo Credit: Andrew Mills/The Star-Ledger

Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings) took a shot from the point that went into a crowd of players. Parise put a stick on the shot, and the puck went off of Jonas Hiller (Anaheim Ducks) and into the net for the goal.

Switzerland nearly tied the game at 3:40 of the period. Sandy Jeannin skated behind the defense and shot the puck from the goal line. The shot beat Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres), but the puck caromed off the right post and out of the net.

Parise iced the victory at 19:49 of the third period. The winger fired a shot into Switzerland’s empty net for his second goal of the game.

Hiller finished with 43 saves in the lost. Team USA will face Finland in a semifinal matchup Friday at 3 p.m.

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It was 50 years since Team Canada beat the Russians in Olympic hockey.

After 24 minutes of hockey, the Canadians sealed their trip to the semifinal round.

Team Canada scored seven goals to bury Russia, 7-3, Wednesday night in Vancouver.

Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) began the Canadian scoring 2:21 into the game. Chris Pronger (Philadelphia Flyers) and Dan Boyle (San Jose Sharks) assisted on the goal.

That goal opened the floodgates.

Canada tallied four goals in the first period and two more in the second. At 4:07 in the second period, Russian coach Slava Bykov pulled goaltender Evgeni Nabakov (San Jose Sharks). The starting goalie allowed all six goals. Ilya Brzygalov (Phoenix Coyotes) took over and allowed only one more Canadian goal.

With the win, Canada will face Slovakia in semifinal action Friday.

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Niklas Hagman (Calgary Flames) and Valtteri Filppula (Detroit Red Wings) scored  in the third period to lead Finland over the Czech Reupblic, 2-0, Wednesday night in quarterfinal action.

Hagman broke a scoreless tie with a powerplay goal at 13:34 of the third period. Teammate Janne Niskala assisted on the eventual game-winning goal.

Filppula iced the victory with an empty-net goal at 18:25 of the period. Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild) sent a pass to Filppula at the blue line. Filppula carried the puck into the Finnish zone and shot the puck into the empty net for the goal.

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Slovakia scored three goals in the second period to upset Sweden, 4-3, in quarterfinal action.

Marian Gaborik (New York Rangers) broke a scoreless tie with a powerplay goal at 7:34 of the second period. Teammates Marian Hossa (Chicago Blackhawks) and Pavol Demitra (Vancouver Canucks) assisted on the goal.

Andrej Sekera extended the lead to two 37 second later. Richard Zednik (Florida Panthers) and Zigmund Palffy assisted on the goal.

Sweden’s Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit Red Wings) tied the game at two at 14:26 in the period. Tobias Enstrom (Atlanta Thrashers) assisted on the goal.

Demitra gave Slovakia back the lead at 19:12 with a powerplay goal. Zdeno Chara (Boston Bruins) and Hossa assisted on the second powerplay goal of the period for Slovakia.

Tomas Kopecky (Chicago Blackhawks) scored the eventual game-winning goal. Hossa and Demitra were credited with assists on the goal.

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With the losses, two Devils should be returning to the team. Ilya Kovalchuk (Russia) and Patrik Elias (Czech Republic) were knocked out of the tournament tonight. I don’t know when they’ll rejoin the team, but I would think they’d be back by the end of the week.

Olympic Update: Czechs Move On, US Faces Switzerland…Again

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

The Czech Republic defeated Latvia, 3-2, and advanced to the quarterfinal round of the Olympic Men’s Hockey tournament last night in Vancouver.

David Krejci (Boston Bruins) scored the overtime winner for the Czechs. Krejci received a pass from Tomas Fleichmann (Washington Capitals) and skated through the neutral zone. After gaining the zone, Krejci shot the puck from the left faceoff circle. The puck went through the legs of Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis for the game-winning goal.

Tomas Rolinek scored at 5:52 of the first period to give the Czechs and early one-goal lead. Teammates Filip Kuba (Ottawa Senators) and Martin Havlat (Minnesota Wild) assisted on the powerplay goal.

Fleischmann scored at 11:06 to double the Czech lead, 2-0. Teammates Krejci and Roman Cervenka assisted on the goal.

Latvia wouldn’t go quietly, scoring two late third period goals to tie the game.

Martin Cipulis scored at 12:02 to bring Latvia within one. Aleksandrs Nizivijs passed the puck to the front of the net, where it went off a skate. With the puck loose in front, Cipulis put a shot on Tomas Vokoun (Florida Panthers). The puck went off the pads of Vokoun and into the net for the goal.

Mikelis Redlihs tied the game at 16:19 of the third period. Teammates Armands Berzins and Lauris Darzins assisted on the goal.

With the win, the Czechs move on and will play Finland tonight at 10 p.m.

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The Swiss also won yesterday, setting up a quarterfinals rematch with Team USA. The game will be at 3 p.m. today on NBC. While we won’t have a live blog here on the website, I’ll provide a recap for you after the game.

Team USA Pulls Off Another “Miracle,” Defeats Canada, 5-3.

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Thirty years ago, the United States cemented their place in hockey lore with an incredible win over the Soviet Union.

While tonight’s victory doesn’t hold the magnitude of the “Miracle On Ice,” Team USA pulled off another upset, defeating Team Canada, 5-3, for the first time in 50 years.

Team U.S.A. celebrates their win over Canada. Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With the score tied, 2-2, in the second period, center Chris Drury (New York Rangers) gave the U.S. a one-goal lead. Martin Brodeur (New Jersey Devils) stopped a shot, but the rebound came to the front of the net. A scrum developed, and Brodeur attempted to poke the puck away from the pile. He couldn’t get to it, and Drury swept the puck into the empty net for his second goal of the tournament.

Team U.S.A. captain Jamie Langenbrunner (New Jersey Devils) scored the eventual game-winning goal in the third period. With the U.S. on the powerplay, Brian Rafalski (Detroit Red Wings) took the puck at the point and fired a shot on goal. The puck caromed off of Langenbrunner’s left skate and slid through the pads off Brodeur for Langenbrunner’s first goal of the tournament.

But Team Canada wouldn’t go quietly.

Sydney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) brought Canada within one at 16:09 in the third period. With Canada on a powerplay, Rick Nash (Columbus Blue Jackets) threw a pass to the front of the net. Crosby deflected the puck through the pads of Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres) for the goal.

The U.S. iced the victory with an empty-net goal at 19:15 of the third period. Ryan Kessler (Vancouver Canucks) chased down a loose puck in Canada’s zone and dove at the puck. He put the one-handed shot past Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks) into the empty net for the goal.

Miller made 42 saves, including stopping Nash on a point blank shot from the slot in the waning seconds of the third period. The goalie outplayed Brodeur, who finished with 18 saves.

With the win, Team U.S.A. clinched their pool. Pending the outcome of tonight’s Finland-Switzerland game, the U.S. can become the top-ranked seed in the elimination rounds.

Game Notes

Rafalski scored two goals tonight, and now has four goals on six shots in the tournament…Zach Parise (New Jersey Devils) had one assist tonight. The Devils’ left winger now has three points – all assists – in the tournament…Three of Team U.S.A.’s goals came from former or current Devils: Langenbrunner (1) and Rafalski (2)…Canada will now have to play back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday.