The finalists for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey have been set. It’s perennial contender Canada against pre tournament also ran Team Europe.
Game 1 goes Tuesday night at 8:00pm est (5:00pm pst) from the ACC in Toronto.
Game 2 is Thursday night at the same time and venue.
Game 3 goes down on Saturday at 7:00pm (4:00pm pst) live from the ACC. Please note the earlier start time for game 3.
Canada entered the World Cup as the favourite and rolled through the round robin with ease. Beating the Czech Republic by a 6-0 score that didn’t completely reflect the edge in play the Canadians had. A convincing 4-2 win over Team USA left the Canadians with a matchup against co finalist Team Europe for Group A bragging rights. A solid 4-1 win left Team Canada atop the group and a matchup with Russia in the semifinals. After falling behind to the Russians 2-1 the Canadians put their foot on the gas and finished off the gallant Russians by a 5-3 score. Russian netminder kept the Russians in it for as long as he could but in the end too much Crosby, Bergeron and Marchand proved to be too much forcing the Russians exit from tournament play.
Team Europe entered the World Cup as heavy underdogs that few believed would win a single game let alone be in the tournament finale. Opening the tournament with a shocking 3-0 win over a heavily favored Team USA the gutsy Europeans followed that up with a 3-2 overtime win over the Czech Republic. Closing the round robin out with a decisive 4-1 loss to Canada Team Europe wa left to face the Tres Kronar of Team Sweden. Battling into overtime against the highly skilled Swedes the feisty Europeans pulled off the upset when Tomas Tatar scored his second of the game 3:43 into the extra session. Jaroslav Halak outdueled a game Henrik Lundqvist to send the Swedes packing.
Game 1 – I see no roster changes for either team. Price vs Halak in goal for their respective teams. Unlike Price, Halak is going to have to steal this game for Europe whereas Carey Price will only have to hold fort for Canada. Nobody has found a way to stop the Crosby, Bergeron and Marchand line and I see no reason to believe Europe will either. Still waiting for Steven Stamkos to light the lamp. He’s getting ample chances, maybe game one is where he gets off the snide. Europe will struggle to mount much offence against the Canadians defence led by Shea Weber and Drew Doughty.
While I wouldn’t want to write the Europens off, they’ve surprised us so much and played too well to just lie down. I expect them to be tenacious, hard skating and hustling the entire game. If Halak stands on his head they could pull the upset. However too much offense, too much forecheck and knowing the title they came for is now within reach the highly motivated Canadians win game 1 by a 5-2 final.
1- Steven Stamkos 2- Drew Doughty 3- Jaroslav Halak
That’s how I see it, from the bleacher seats.