Canada made some changes to its lineup combinations after its loss to the USA on the weekend and one of its new combinations of Patrick Sharp, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jamie Benn dominated today’s game. Nugent-Hopkins opened the scoring just under two minutes into the game, getting his first goal at the World Championships (also his first international goal). Sharp would get a goal on the power play near the midpoint of the first period and Benn would score two goals 3:27 apart. France (Brian Henderson) would tap one in off a turnover in the defensive zone by Canada near the end of the first period with just under a minute left. The second period was a little less entertaining as not much happened aside from a couple of penalties and a goal for each team, with Eberle scoring on the power play and France’s Alexandre Rouleau answering the goal just 30 seconds later, as Dubnyk went out to play the puck and mishandled it. Canada would go on to dominate the third period, holding France to just three shots in the period and adding two more goals; one from Nugent-Hopkins and Corey Perry got the final goal of the game as he finally got his first of the tournament. Canada would end up outshooting France 37-21.
Lineup Changes Prove Fruitful
Brent Suter made a number of line changes coming into this morning’s game against France. He moved Jordan Eberle up to play with John Tavares and Jeff Skinner, and as mentioned earlier moved Nugent-Hopkins to play with Sharp and Benn. Suter also moved Evander Kane to play with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. All three of these lines scored today, with the line of Sharp, Benn and Nugent-Hopkins getting a total of 11 points combined; Nugent-Hopkins with 2 goals and an assist, Benn also had 2 goals and an assist, while Sharp had 1 goal and 4 assists. Sharp would get close to tying the Team Canada record of 6 points in a game set by Eric Lindros who did it twice.
Kyle Quincey played his first game for Canada after joining the team Sunday. Canada’s next game comes against Switzerland on Wednesday. Rouleau represented Canada at the 2003 world junior tournament. The native of Mont-Laurier, Que., received French citizenship earlier this year. The French federation is bidding to have Paris co-host the 2017 world championship with Berlin. Canada held France to just 3 shots in the third period.
Despite the win, Canadian coach Brent Sutter was left with some cause for concern. Playing in a near-empty Hartwall Arena — announced attendance was 3,415 — the team didn’t seem to have much energy against an overmatched opponent, particularly in the second period and saw some lackadaisical play lead to the goals against. The road will get much tougher from here for Canada, with a game against Switzerland on Wednesday and the host Finns on Friday.
Player of the game for France: Brian Henderson
Player of the game for Canada: Patrick Sharp