Well, that was easy.
Canada looked a little rusty at times when it opened up its Olympic campaign against Norway on Thursday, but it's safe to say the Canadians hit their stride against Austria, winning 6-0.
Canada was led by Jeff Carter's hat trick and strong performances from Ryan Getzlaf (goal, assist), Patrick Marleau (three assists) and goalkeeper Roberto Luongo, who shut out the Austrians.
Not surprisingly, the Canadians absolutely dominated the game from the opening faceoff, outshooting their opponents 44-to-23. This one was never in question.
Drew Doughty got the scoring started about five minutes into the game for Team Canada on an assist from Jonathan Toews. Halfway through the period Shea Weber doubled the lead with an absolute rocket of a shot, this one assisted by Corey Perry and Getzlaf.
We'll let Bruce Arthur of the National Post describe the shot:
Canada's dominance continued in the second period. About three minutes in, an Austrian turnover in the neutral zone set up Sidney Crosby and Carter with a two-on-one. But Crosby was patient and waited until Marleau drew closer to the net, centering a pass to him.
Marleau's shot hit the post, but Carter was there to scoop up the rebound.
Minutes later, Carter scored his second on a wrap-around goal after Marleau forced a turnover behind the net. And Carter would get his hat trick in a scramble in front of the net with just over five minutes remaining in the second period.
Carter's hat trick wasn't just impressive, it was also a feat that hasn't been accomplished by a Canadian at the Olympics in quite some time. From Mike Halford of Pro Hockey Talk:
Carter scored a natural hat trick during the second period of Canada’s game against Austria, becoming the first Canadian to do so in Olympic competition since Paul Knox did it against Austria (oddly enough) at the 1956 Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.
Getzlaf made it four second-period goals with 3:12 remaining with a short-handed tally, brilliantly pulling the puck past one defender before snapping the shot into the net.
As Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo! Sports noted, it was a goal worthy of a few other Olympic events:
With the game well in hand, Canada didn't score in the third, but the defense continue to play well and Luongo didn't allow a shot to go past him. That will set up a very interesting decision for Canada coach Mike Babcock, as both Carey Price and Luongo have played well in the Sochi Games.
Of course, the Olympics seem to bring out the best in Luongo. From Dave Feschuk of the Toronto Star:
As Luongo said after the game, he was simply happy to get a win under his belt. From Arthur:
Now Canada will prep for a big matchup against Finland with major seeding implications on Sunday, while Austria will look to notch their first win of the tournament against Norway. No matter who starts in goal, the Canadians will be favored in that matchup, though it should be an excellent contest.
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