By Josh Ferguson
Team Canada solidified a quarterfinal matchup against Russia with an 8-2 drubbing of Germany at Canada Hockey Place on Tuesday.
Canadian coach Mike Babcock shuffled the lines for the qualification game and moved Eric Staal onto the top line with Jarome Iginla and Sidney Crosby. The move paid off as Iginla buried a pair of goals and Staal picked up three helpers to lead Team Canada through to the next round.
Canada tested German goalie Thomas Greiss early and often in the first period, outshooting Germany 14-4. Despite the pressure, Joe Thornton collected the lone goal for the period – his first of the tournament – to make it 1-0 going into the intermission.
Since it’s the Olympics, Shea Weber might have proven he has the hardest shot in the world after the Sicamous, B.C., native blasted a slap shot that pierced the twine of the German goal. Play continued after the cannon from the point, but upon review of the shot at a speed where the eye could catch it, Weber was awarded the goal to give Canada a 2-0 lead.
Iginla made it a three-goal game on the power play just more than a minute after the Weber blast and collected his second of the game by roofing a vintage snap shot from the right wing off of a beautiful cross-ice pass from Staal.
Marcel Goc breathed some life into the Germans near the end of the second period on a pretty wraparound to beat Roberto Luongo’s outstretched leg to make it 4-1. Luongo made his second start of the tournament and stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced. Greiss turned aside 31 of Canada’s 39 shots at the other end.
The Canadians would prove to be too much for the Germans, though, and collected third period goals from Crosby, Mike Richards, Scott Niedermayer and Rick Nash.
Although it was meaningless to the game, Nash’s marker was his first goal in two trips to the Olympics and it was certainly earned in this game. After making a nice individual effort to split the German defense for a breakaway in the second period, Nash was hauled down for a penalty shot. However, Crosby took the shot for Nash and the 22-year-old failed to capitalize on the opportunity.
The two teams who were favored to meet in the gold medal game will instead meet in the quarterfinals Wednesday. Russia and Canada met in the quarterfinals at the 2006 Olympics and the Russians sent the Canadians home early with a 2-0 win.