2010 Winter Olympics: Canada Chases Nabokov En Route to Semifinal

Antony TaContributor IFebruary 25, 2010

VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 24:  Evgeny Nabokov #20 of Russia tends goal during the ice hockey men's quarter final game between Russia and Canada on day 13 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at Canada Hockey Place on February 24, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Here is the Team Canada that people have been waiting to see.

Team Canada shuffled the lines after the Team Germany win in an attempt to get more out of their forwards.

It worked.

And it worked so well the Russian Federation and their fearsome hockey team were sent packing.

An unrelenting, nerve-racking, hard-hitting brand of hockey was played by the Canadian forwards and they gave the Russian netminder and his defense fits all night.

Evgeni Nabokov was uncharacteristically bad on this night, overcommitting to shots and letting out bad rebounds. His defense was also questionable at best as wave after wave of Canadian forwards were available to screen and distract the already troubled goaltender.

Regardless of the debate about whether Russia should have pulled Nabokov earlier or whether Ilya Bryzgalov would have been a better choice, the statistics tell the story of the game as Canada outshot Russia 42-28.

Nothing out of Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin on this night—but it didn't matter.

Canada received some valuable "depth scoring" from other players on the team. Specifically, a big night on defense by Dan Boyle singlehandedly matched the offensive output of the whole Russian team with one goal and two assists as he factored into three of Canada's goals early on.

Also of note was the continued excellence shown by Drew Doughty on the blueline and Team Canada finally reaping the benefits of pre-existing chemistry shared by the San Jose line of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton, and Dany Heatley and that being shared between Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

Next up is a depleted Slovakian team but a dangerous one nonetheless.

Slovakia boast a skilled defense that is arguably one of the best at the tournament. They also have some of the best re-known snipers in the NHL in the form of Marian Gaborik and Marian Hossa.

Canada will have to shut them down the way they did with Oveckin, Alex Semin, Evgeni Malkin, and the other Russian snipers.

And if the Canadian forwards play the way they did last game—they might not need to: they might just outscore Slovakia.