Monday, September 19, 2016
Team North America beats Finland at World Cup of Hockey
With lightning speed and uncontainable competence, North America Team skated circles around Finland on the way to a 4-1 victory Sunday night during the World Cup of Hockey.
Led by goals from Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon, 23-year-olds and less Americans and Canadians played a proud Finnish national team who has the most Olympic medals since NHL players began participate.
'' We are here to play, '' said Gaudreau. '' We hope that the teams do not take us lightly. I think we are one, speed, fast skilled team and hopefully we can continue to show people we belong here. ''
North America is not done in the elite tournament full of nearly 200 of the best players in the world; it could be one of the most qualified downward. Four of the last five No. 1 choice were at their best Saturday night offensively and defensively.
Playing his first of what should be many games for his new arena home with the Toronto Maple Leafs, No. 1 pick Auston Matthews had help and showed that he was ready to face competition the NHL.
'' I thought he was going to have a hell of a game and he did, '' coach Todd McLellan said. '' There was not afraid to play. ''
Captain Connor McDavid, 2015 No. 1 pick of the Edmonton Oilers, also had help and several clever moves that confuse the Finnish defenders.
Just as Team Europe, a collection of players from eight European countries, North America made a great first impression after much criticism about being a gadget. blazing fast game in North America in exhibition games is the most fascinating part of the World Cup Of Hockey Jersey, and this fascination is that stronger now that it has shown that it can thrive when it counts.
Just because we're young does not mean that we are not as good or anything like that, '' McDavid said. '' It's just that we have a little less experience. ''
The guard Stanley Cup win Matt Murray made 24 saves, but mostly had an easy night as North America dominated Finland 43-25, including a 18-6 domination in the second period.
'' The second period was a cold shower for us, '' Finland coach Lauri Marjamäki said. '' They got better, they won all the battles, they skate hard, they are so impressive. ... Such a great team. ''
Pekka Rinne made 39 saves for Finland, sometimes fighting, but also prevent it from turning into more of a blowout.
Goals came from every possible way: fat rebound Eichel on the side of the net, jumping Gaudreau, spinning deflection Drouin streak end and backhand-forehand movement MacKinnon after beating everyone to the puck. apt goal song in North America, '' Opposite of Adults '' resounded on the speakers of the Air Canada Centre all night.
'' I think all four lines really brought something tonight and everyone was there sort of do their part, said Matthews. '' We use our strengths, and I think we put them on their heels. ''
Sometimes the pace was so fast that Gaudreau said the players stood on the bench for the next fancy step. North America had the puck against Finland, which had nine returning players from the bronze medal team at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
'' They really took us and showed their individual competence, but also as a team, they were extremely dangerous, said Rinne. '' I will not take anything away from them, but we were not ready to go. We made too many mistakes. We are not skating. This was the result. ''
Valtteri Filppula scored the only goal for Finland, the end of the third period after the outcome was decided. This lapse was something McLellan said is a good teaching moment for their team that will help the World Cup continues.
Russia is next Monday night after a 2-1 defeat to Sweden earlier Sunday. Despite losing Russia and North America to win, McDavid does not see his team as the favorite in the game.
'' Russia is a giant hockey and they are one of the best hockey nations in the world, '' McDavid said. '' It'll be a good test for us. ''