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Team Europe

Team Europe calm, determined entering Game 2

Hope 'nice bite and nice edge' translates to extending World Cup final

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said his players are more calm and determined than angry heading into Game 2 against Team Canada in the best-of-3 final at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on Thursday (8 p.m. ESPN2, CBC, TVA, TVA Sports).

Krueger had said his players were "very angry" after their 3-1 loss to Team Canada in Game 1 on Tuesday.

"We all know how big the one is tonight," Krueger said. "So we've felt a calm in the room, but there is a really nice bite and a nice edge and intensity in the group through these two days."

Despite the loss, Team Europe found some things to like in Game 1 of the final. The players felt it was their best game of the tournament, and there were opportunities that were not taken advantage of.

Video: Practice Report: Team Europe believes in winning

 "We feel good," Team Europe captain Anze Kopitar said. "As I said after [Game 1], I think we played arguably the best game so far in this tournament. But we just fell short. Because of that, we can't get discouraged. Our backs are against the wall now. We've got to win two games to win the thing and we've got to come out, play with confidence. There's no reason for us to be nervous about anything. Come out, play hard, and we'll see what happens."

That makes looking ahead to Game 2 easier, knowing though Team Canada might be the most talented team in the tournament, Team Europe has the skill and the ability to win. But it needs to limit its mistakes to do so.

"We just went right back to looking for growth and [Wednesday] was about that, tapping into opportunity. And today we're speaking about getting better as a team again," Krueger said. "It's not just lip service with us.

"It's truly been our mantra to keep the picture small and to be able to focus on whatever the next challenge was, because we've had many where people would have doubted us and we needed to stay tight in our world to find belief, to be successful through all the different hurdles we've jumped over already."

Among the areas that need to be improved for Team Europe to beat Team Canada are erasing the errors, getting to the net, making good on chances and scoring on the power play after going 0-for-2 in Game 1.

Video: Team Canada, Team Europe get set for Gm1 of the WCH

"We want to score a little more goals, so we definitely need more traffic in front of their goalie," forward Marian Hossa said. "That's the key for us to be successful. I think we did lots of good things in that game, but to score more than one goal we're going to need to bear down for second and third chances."

There is also an understanding: Team Europe must win Thursday or the tournament will be over. And when the tournament ends, the Team Europe concept, created for the World Cup, could be retired.

"In that regard, it's a little bit weird feeling," Kopitar said. "But we've said it all along, we're living in the moment right now. We're not looking too far ahead."

Team Europe knows it played well Tuesday, but to force Game 3 on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN2; CBC, TVA, TVA Sports), more is required.

"We played good," forward Thomas Vanek said. "Against them good is … not good. You've got to be perfect. We made a few mistakes. You make mistakes against that team, you'll lose."

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