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Team Canada

Final three minutes difference in Team Canada victory

Wins third straight best-on-best tournament with World Cup triumph

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- Canada won its 16th straight game in a best-on-best tournament on Thursday with a 2-1 victory that won the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

That streak was less than three minutes away from ending against Team Europe at Air Canada Centre.

The Team Canada comeback from down 1-0 in the final 2:53, winning on a Brad Marchand shorthanded goal with 43.1 seconds remaining, will go down as one of the most dramatic endings in an international championship game we have seen.

Video: CAN@EUR, Gm2: Crosby discusses team effort to win WCH

How did it happen? An anatomy of a third-period comeback:

 

16:25

Down 1-0, Team Canada is buzzing in the Team Europe zone and a sense is building that the tying goal is coming. Forward Corey Perry gets the puck behind the Team Europe net and Anze Kopitar chases him. Kopitar is about 40 seconds into his shift and is tired, having defended in his own end the entire time. He wraps his arm around Perry's back, and when Perry falls, Kopitar is penalized for holding.

"The Kopitar call, we'd seen many situations like that throughout the game," Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said. "That certainly was the turning point. The shorthanded goal makes it that much more painful at the end, but we needed to make sure we carried that 1-0 [lead] into the 60th minute and we weren't able to do that shorthanded."

When Kopitar enters the penalty box, he slams his stick against the glass in frustration. What was going through his mind?

"I don't know if I should speak of that out loud," he said.

 

17:07

Team Canada works the puck into the offensive zone on the rush, with Steven Stamkos sending a cross-ice pass to Sidney Crosby skating down the right wing. Crosby stops and sends the puck up to the point to Brent Burns, who quickly one-times a shot toward the net rather than settling the puck down for a slap shot. That proved to be a critical decision.

Burns' shot is high but Patrice Bergeron is positioned in the slot with no Team Europe defenders near him. He is able to get a stick on the shot just below his shoulders, within inches of being a high stick, and tips it so it goes behind Team Europe goalie Jaroslav Halak on the 32nd shot on goal of the game for Team Canada.

"It was an amazing deflection by Bergeron, world-class hand-eye coordination, redirects that puck into the top left corner," Krueger said.

Video: CAN@EUR, Gm2: Bergeron tips home PPG to tie game at 1

 

18:10

With the puck in the Team Canada zone, defenseman Drew Doughty's stick comes up and catches the face of Team Europe forward Tobias Rieder, giving it a power play. Up to this point, Team Europe hasn't scored a power-play goal in the tournament and Team Canada hasn't allowed a goal when shorthanded. But at the very least, it appears this would ensure the game would go to overtime or Team Europe would win.

When Team Canada coach Mike Babcock saw Doughty skating toward the penalty box, his team's success in that situation put his mind at ease.

"Did we give up a power-play goal in the tournament?" Babcock said when asked to describe his thoughts at that time. "I don't think we did."

 

18:22

After Kopitar beats Bergeron on the ensuing faceoff, Team Europe defenseman Roman Josi takes a long shot that hits the post behind Team Canada goaltender Carey Price.

 

18:51

Kopitar takes a shot that misses the Team Canada net and rims around to the point, where it is kept in the zone by Mikkel Boedker. He sends the puck behind the net to Thomas Vanek, who goes against the grain to feed Marian Hossa all alone in the slot.

Price, who was tracking the puck going the other way around the net, swivels his head, turns and stops Hossa's shot between his arm and his body.

"It hit me in the love handle," Price said.

Babcock said the save got the players on the Team Canada bench excited. They would become even more excited a few moments later.

"It's unbelievable," Babcock said of Price. "He just does what he does."

Video: CAN@EUR: Price quickly reacts to keep game tied at 1

 

19:16

About 10 seconds after a defensive zone faceoff, Jonathan Toews breaks into the Team Europe zone when his forward partner on the Team Canada penalty kill, Logan Couture, heads to the bench for a change. Marchand jumps over the boards.

When Toews crosses the Team Europe blue line, he sees Boedker, a forward, defending against him. Normally, Toews might choose to get the puck in deep and complete the line change.

But Toews doesn't do that. He decides to challenge Boedker instead.

"My first thought was, knowing it was a forward, to try and take him wide," Toews said. "No guarantees, but I think you definitely take a few more chances than you should otherwise."

Toews faked Boedker to the outside and instead cut in toward the slot. At that moment, defenseman Jay Bouwmeester also enters the offensive zone and crisscrosses with Toews through the slot, creating a bit of confusion for Roman Josi and Kopitar, who are also on the ice for Team Europe. The maneuver forces Team Europe to sag a bit into its zone, creating lots of room for Marchand to come from the bench and into the offensive zone as a trailer.

"[Toews] was able to back everybody off," Marchand said. "I think he was going up against a couple forwards and a defenseman, and the forwards were a little uncomfortable. I think he wanted to try them out, and he made a great play to open up a lot of space. And when I came in, I just wanted to get a shot on net."

Toews makes a drop pass to Marchand after he hears him calling for the puck, a play Team Canada has been burned on numerous times in the two games in the final against Team Europe.

"Lucky I didn't turn it over again and [they were] going back the other way," Toews said. "That wouldn't have been so good. It worked out perfectly."

The pass from Toews is a bit behind Marchand, but he manages to corral it and beat Halak with a quick shot with 43.1 seconds left.

"You know what, yeah, it was a little bit behind, but luckily it was because there was a stick in the way too," Marchand said. "If it was any forward, the guy probably would have got it, so perfect placement by [Toews]."

Video: CAN@EUR, Gm2: Marchand nets Toews' feed for late lead

 
20:00

The buzzer sounds, Air Canada Centre goes crazy and Team Canada celebrates a third straight best-on-best tournament victory (2014 Sochi Olympics, 2010 Vancouver Olympics).

Never in doubt.

"It's a belief in the process, you know you're going to get it done," Babcock said. "Sometimes it doesn't happen as quick or as pretty as you want, and you just keep on grinding. Our guys believe they're going to win, and I thought we really turned it up. I don't know what you guys thought, I thought we turned it up to a level that we ended up winning."

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