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Instant analysis: Team Russia vs. Team Canada

Brad Marchand, Sidney Crosby help hosts advance to World Cup final

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Team Canada defeated Team Russia 5-3 in the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

Team Canada advances to face either Team Sweden or Team Europe in the best-of-3 final beginning Tuesday.

Brad Marchand scored two goals, and Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists for Team Canada. Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky made 42 saves to keep Team Russia in the game until the third period.

Video: RUS@CAN: Crosby steals the puck and scores

Crosby scored 7:40 into the game by stripping defenseman Dmitry Kulikov of the puck in the left circle and sliding a backhand around Bobrovsky. Nikita Kucherov tied it on right-circle shot on a 2-on-1 at 8:47 of the second. Evgeny Kuznetsov gave Team Russia a 2-1 lead by batting in a puck in front with 3:36 remaining in the second, but Team Canada answered 1:12 later with Crosby setting up Marchand.

Marchand struck again from the top of the left circle 1:16 into the third period, and Corey Perry (5:48) and John Tavares (9:32) scored to increase Team Canada's lead to 5-2. Team Russia forward Artemi Panarin scored with 6.4 seconds left.


What we learned: 

Coming of a Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, Crosby reminded us again that he's the best player in the game with a superb performance, singlehandedly scoring the first Team Canada goal and setting up each of Marchand's goals.

Team Canada controlled play for much of the game, pressuring Team Russia into repeated turnovers when it attempted to break out of its end. Bobrovsky was the main reason Team Russia was in the game through two periods, holding off Team Canada when it came at him in waves.

Team Canada's four lines were too much for Team Russia to handle. Team Canada has outscored its opponents 19-6 and trailed for 2:41 in the tournament.

Team Russia never figured out how to fix its power play, which went 0-for-3 against Team Canada and was 0-for-11 in the World Cup with eight shots on goal.

Video: RUS@CAN: Marchand buries Crosby's pass in front


What this means for Team Russia:

It had a decent tournament by reaching the semifinals but again came up short in a best-on-best tournament after failing to win a medal in the past three Olympics.


What this means for Team Canada:

It extended its winning streak to 14 in a row in best-on-best tournaments dating to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and reached the World Cup final.

Key moment:

Bobrovsky robbed Marchand with a glove save on his redirection 53 seconds into the third period, but Marchand came right back to score the go-ahead goal at 1:16. After taking a drop pass from Crosby, Marchand unleashed a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that sailed past Bobrovsky's catching glove for his third goal of the tournament.

Video: RUS@CAN: Marchand nets second goal of the game

Unsung player of the game:

Matched against Alex Ovechkin for most of the night, Jonathan Toews, with assistance from linemates Logan Couture and Perry, helped hold Ovechkin without a shot attempt through the first two periods and one shot on goal for the game. That line also produced the rebound goal from Perry that made it 4-2.

What's next:

Team Canada advances to the best-of-3 final, which begins Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports), and will face the winner of the semifinal between Team Sweden and Team Europe on Sunday (1 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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