This was more like it.
After a closer-than-expected win in their opener against Norway, Team Canada imposed its will on Austria in a 6-0 victory on Friday to improve to 2-0 in Group B. Jeff Carter had a natural hat trick in the second period, and Roberto Luongo tossed a shutout to restore order and soothe some of the frazzled minds of Canadians everywhere.
A showdown with Finland will occur Sunday to decide Group B and who gets the bye in the quarterfinals.
The lopsided win might have created more questions than the less-impressive win against Norway.
With Luongo playing so well, should he be in net against Finland? Or should coach Mike Babcock go back to Carey Price?
Sidney Crosby's line failed to produce yet again, so is it time to consider changes?
Carter had quite the performance with minimal ice time, so should he continue his role as the 13th forward or should he be a more prominent fixture against Finland?
Those are some luxurious problems to have.
The final grades for this win, as you may imagine, are mostly positive. There were a few hiccups, but Canada looked like defending champions in this cakewalk.
|Team Canada Grades|
|LINE/PAIRING||After 1st||After 2nd||Final|
|Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Martin St. Louis||C||B||C|
|Matt Duchene-Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry||B+||B||B|
|Patrick Marleau-Jonathan Toews-Rick Nash/Jeff Carter||B-||A+||A|
|Jamie Benn-John Tavares-Patrice Bergeron||A||C||B|
|Duncan Keith-Shea Weber||A||A||A|
|Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo||B||A||B|
|Marc Edouard Vlasic-Drew Doughty/PK Subban||B||B||B|
Chris Kunitz—Sidney Crosby—Martin St. Louis: There wasn't much to like from this group. Crosby had an assist while away from the line. Your top line doesn't need to produce against Norway and Austria, but another empty performance against Finland could cause problems.
Matt Duchene—Ryan Getzlaf—Corey Perry: They played a solid game. Duchene had four shots in his Olympic debut, but it remains to be seen if that will be enough to keep him in the lineup.
Patrick Marleau—Jonathan Toews—Rick Nash/Jeff Carter: This group was dynamic when Carter joined. The tough question for Babcock is: Does he make Carter a permanent member of this line or does he stick with Nash in what is essentially a checking role?
Jamie Benn—John Tavares—Patrice Bergeron: It was an up-and-down performance. Great in the first period, not great in the second period, pretty good in the third during garbage time. No reason to break up this unit going into the Finland game.
Duncan Keith—Shea Weber: Weber had a rocket of a goal and the pair was sharp defensively. They also combined for five shots on net.
Jay Bouwmeester—Alex Pietrangelo: They played a crisp game and had four total shots.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic—Drew Doughty/P.K. Subban: It was an uneven game from Doughty. He had a goal in the first period but was caught twice for great chances against during the period. Subban played about 11 minutes, and it remains to be seen if he'll stay in the lineup against Finland.
Roberto Luongo: He made Babcock's decision for Finland difficult by stopping all 23 shots he faced. Luongo had to make some quality saves and was there every time.
Special teams: There wasn't much in the way of power-play chances, but the penalty kill was 3-of-3 and Getzlaf had a shorthanded goal. The power play will need to click as the competition improves.
Second period analysis
Chris Kunitz—Sidney Crosby—Martin St. Louis: Better than they were in the first but not producing much. Tavares took a shift on that line.
Matt Duchene—Ryan Getzlaf—Corey Perry: Getzlaf had the shorthanded goal in what was pretty much a nothing period.
Patrick Marleau—Jonathan Toews—Rick Nash/Jeff Carter: Carter appeared to find a home on this line, which was outstanding in the middle period. Carter's first goal came at the tail end of a penalty kill. Marleau assisted on all three of Carter's goals.
Jamie Benn—John Tavares—Patrice Bergeron: Not a great period at all. Benn and Bergeron amassed six minutes in minor penalties.
Duncan Keith—Shea Weber: Solid work all around. Weber had an assist.
Jay Bouwmeester—Alex Pietrangelo: Another fine showing. Pietrangelo had an assist.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic—Drew Doughty/P.K. Subban: Doughty's ice time is only slightly greater than that of Subban. Vlasic is the constant here.
Roberto Luongo: Ten shots in the period for Austria, although Luongo faced tougher tests in the first period.
Special teams: Three clean penalty kills and a shorthanded goal for Getzlaf. They appear too fast for Austria.
First period analysis
Chris Kunitz—Sidney Crosby—Martin St. Louis: Not all that great. Kunitz had a shift late in the third period that drew the ire coach Mike Babcock, according to Pierre McGuire on NBCSN.
Matt Duchene—Ryan Getzlaf—Corey Perry: Quality period, as Perry and Getzlaf set up Weber's blast that resulted in Canada's second goal.
Patrick Marleau—Jonathan Toews—Rick Nash: Some good, some bad. Toews won the face-off that led to to Doughty's goal, but they were guilty of turnovers that led to many of Austria's chances.
Jamie Benn—John Tavares—Patrice Bergeron/Jeff Carter: Carter roved, but the main trio was splendid. They held the puck in Austria's end on nearly every shift.
Duncan Keith—Shea Weber: They got caught on Raffl's early chance, but that had more to do with mistakes by the Toews' line that led to the odd-man attack.
Jay Bouwmeester—Alex Pietrangelo: Steady period. Invisible in a good way.
Marc-Edouard Vlasic—Drew Doughty/P.K. Subban: Subban had some power-play time and while Doughty scored the first goal, he got caught pinching on Grabner's breakaway and was left scrambling on Grabner's later chance that hit the post.
Roberto Luongo: Seven shots, seven saves. Can't ask for more than that.
Special teams: One power play, no penalty kills. Failed to score on the power play that needs work.
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