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World Cup Game Recap

Team Canada defeats Team Europe to win Group A

Each team qualifies for World Cup semifinals

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Team Canada completed its undefeated roll through the preliminary round of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 with a 4-1 win against Team Europe at Air Canada Centre on Wednesday.

Jonathan Toews scored twice and had an assist for Team Canada, which clinched first place in Group A by going 3-0-0 while outscoring its opponents 14-3.

"I think tonight we got a few bounces and a couple of goals went in, but I think we're all finding our game more and more as the tournament goes along," Toews said.

Next is a semifinal game against either Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia or Connor McDavid and Team North America on Saturday or Sunday.

"On the defensive side of things, we're going to have to make sure we're ready for whoever we face," Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby said. "We need to make sure we control the puck in their end. I think we know at this point that whoever we play, we'd better be ready to move our feet."

Video: EUR@CAN: Toews goes glove side for second goal

Marian Hossa scored and Jaroslav Halak made 43 saves for Team Europe, which finished second in Group A at 2-1-0 and will play Team Sweden, the Group B winner, in the semifinals.

"We came here and it was our goal to go to the semis," Team Europe defenseman Roman Josi said. "It's definitely great for the group. We're happy, and we, obviously, want more now."

Team Canada controlled play from the drop of the puck, outshooting Team Europe 17-4 in the first period and 46-20 in the game. Crosby scored first on a wraparound 4:01 into the period.

Toews capitalized on a Halak turnover by deflecting a Matt Duchene pass to make it 2-0 with 54.4 seconds left in the first. Hossa made it 2-1 with a shot from below the left circle that slipped past Corey Crawford, his Chicago Blackhawks teammate, on the short side and went in off the far post 4:38 into the second period.

Toews made it 3-1 when he scored from the left circle on a 2-on-1 with 5:12 remaining in the second. Logan Couture scored a 4-on-4 goal with 2:27 left in the third period.

Video: EUR@CAN: Couture chips the puck top shelf over Halak


Goal of the Game:

Crosby made it 1-0 by circling behind the net with the puck and beating Halak to the right post for his second goal of the tournament.

Video: EUR@CAN: Crosby nets wraparound to open scoring


Save of the Game:

Halak kept Team Canada's lead at 1-0 with back-to-back saves on Brad Marchand with 1:10 remaining in the first period. After the puck bounced to Marchand at the right side of the crease, Halak slid over to make a left-pad stop on the initial shot and used his left arm to stop the rebound attempt.

Video: EUR@CAN: Halak denies Marchand with great pad stop


Unsung Moment of the Game:

Team Europe forward Tobias Rieder moved in alone against Crawford 2:36 into the game and appeared to have the goaltender beaten when he pulled the puck to his backhand. But Team Canada defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic hit Rieder with his stick from behind, causing his shot to slide wide of the right post.

"I think I felt just a little whack that kind of messed everything up," Rieder said. "If that goes in, [the game] might take a different direction."

Video: EUR@CAN: Vlasic pressures Rieder on breakaway


Highlight of the Game:

Toews made it 2-0 with help from Duchene. Halak played the puck behind the net and Duchene intercepted along the left-wing boards before throwing it in front to Toews for the redirection.

Video: EUR@CAN: Toews scores with help from Duchene


They Said It:

"I was pretty nervous before the game. Wearing the jersey, being on the ice with all those guys, it got me a little nervous. It's special. I always wanted to be a part of that. To play in the game was awesome." -- Team Canada goaltender Corey Crawford

"It's not one of those games where you ever leave feeling real great because you don't play like you're supposed to. But big win for our team. We're set up good. Don't have to move dressing rooms. Life is good, man." -- Team Canada coach Mike Babcock

"Everybody could see that they were a little better than us, at least tonight. They outshot us, outchanced us. Jaro played great for us, but it's really hard to beat this team. You never know what'll happen, but it's going to be really hard to beat this team." -- Team Europe right wing Marian Hossa

Video: EUR@CAN: Crosby on Team Canada's win vs. Team Europe


Need to Know:

Crosby (two goals, two assists), Toews (three goals, one assist) and Duchene (two goals, two assists) are tied for the Team Canada and tournament lead with four points. Team North America defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere also has four points (all assists). … Center Ryan O'Reilly was the only Team Canada skater to play in three preliminary-round games and not get a point. … Forward Mats Zuccarello leads Team Europe with three points (one goal, two assists).


The puck was in Team Canada's offensive zone 47% of the time at even strength



What's Next:

Team Canada: Will play either Team Russia or Team North America in a semifinal on Saturday or Sunday. It will be Team Russia if it defeats Team Finland on Thursday. It will be Team North America if Team Finland wins that game.

Team Europe: Will play Team Sweden in a semifinal on Saturday or Sunday.

Video: Toews pots two as Team Canada rolls Team Europe

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