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World Cup of Hockey: Team Canada Blows Out Team Czech Republic

Team Czech Republic and Team Canada clashed on day one of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Team Canada vs Team Czech Republic Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Team Canada and Team Czech Republic met earlier tonight in the second match of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

The heavily-favored Canadian team looked to start what it hopes to be a dominant run through this tournament. What a better opponent than an over-matched Team Czech Republic?

Meanwhile, the Czechs came into this game hoping for a massive upset. To beat Team Canada in international hockey is tough enough. Doing so in Toronto is nearly impossible. The Czech Republic needed to rely heavily on goaltender Michal Neuvirth. If the Czechs were to have any shot against the Canadians, they’d need Neuvirth at his absolute best.

First Period

The start to this game was insane. The Czechs came out flying, nearly scoring 40 seconds in on a Palat rush. But on the ensuing counterattack, Sidney Crosby found himself in all alone on Michal Neuvirth who managed to get a piece of Crosby’s wrister.

A few seconds later, Drew Doughty’s pass to Steven Stamkos just narrowly missed the net and the Canadians drew a penalty soon after.

On the ensuing powerplay, however, Stamkos lost the puck at the point and had to trip Milan Michalek in order to prevent a shorthanded breakaway. The momentum kept going back and forth at 4-on-4. Every time it seemed the Canadians were going to seize control, the Czechs came back down the ice for a scoring chance. Jakub Voracek split the D on a great play and made Carey Price work for a save, Palat then went in all alone from the blueline and even drew a penalty.

The Czechs started this game playing like they had nothing to lose. Ales Hemsky rung one off the post 5:30 in, Voracek looked slick and Palat had a few good chances but the game remained tied, until... Sidney Crosby.

Stamkos started the play, sending the initial shot wide. Somehow Brad Marchand wound up with the puck at the right circle, his shot ended up behind the net where Crosby skated around to the right side and banked one in off Neurvirth’s backside. The Czechs challenged the play, saying Stamkos’ stick interfered with Neuvirth’s ability to make the save but I think Crosby would have scored anyway. When a guy manages to find the twine from below the goal line, you can’t really do much other than acknowledge the skill in that play and move on.

From that point on, the Canadians owned the first period. Tavares rifled one in on Neuvirth that the Czech goaltender had a tough time handling. He gave up a juicy rebound, but fortunately the referees were quick to whistle the play dead before Ryan Getzlaf buried the puck into what was a wide open net. The game remained 1-0 in favor of the Canadians.

Stamkos took the puck into the zone, was launched into the air by Martin Hanzal and still managed to make a great pass from his knees for a scoring chance. Soon thereafter, the Canadians won an offensive zone draw back to Brent Burns and he rifled a clapper into the Czech net to make it 2-0 Canada.

Stamkos and Tavares would team up again late in the period on a 2-on-1 but were turned away by Neuvirth. 20 seconds later, a turnover in the Czech Republic zone resulted in a Patrice Bergeron goal as time expired. Brad Marchand wound up with the puck and sent it to Bergeron in the slot, who made no mistake and buried the puck for the third Canadian goal of the period.

The Czechs started this period pretty strong, trading blows with the mighty Canadians. But Team Canada slowly took over the game and then suddenly blew it open for a 3-0 lead. That last goal had to be especially demoralizing for the Czechs, it came off a turnover late in the period and the puck crossed the goal line just .7 seconds from the end of the period.

Good period: Stamkos, Tavares, Crosby, Burns, Marchand, Bergeron and the rest of Team Canada. Jakub Voracek and Ondrej Palat looked good for the Czechs, too.

Tough period: Mostly every Czech player, although Michal Neuvirth was pretty solid. Only one of the goals could really be pinned on him.

Second Period

The second period started and Team Canada started right where they left off, although the Czechs drew a penalty 3 minutes in. Jay Bouwmeester was sent off for interference but the Czech Republic failed to get much going on the powerplay. There was a bit of a scrum in front of the net where Carey Price was shoved into the net by Hanzal, nothing much happened otherwise.

Stamkos and Tavares continued to create magic whenever on the ice together, 6:30 in and they both had a few scoring chances that narrowly missed. Joe Thornton and Crosby would connect for a goal just a few moments later with 12:38 left to make it 4-0. A slick backhand pass from Crosby to the far post would find Thornton’s stick and he buried the puck like you’d expect a 250 37 year-old veteran would.

Quick note: Joe Thornton has not shaved since Clinton was in office.

The Czechs would come straight back down the ice, nearly score, draw a penalty and piss off Ryan Getzlaf for... reasons? Who knows? Anyway, the Czech Republic couldn’t get much going on the powerplay. Patrice Bergeron had the best chance during those two minutes when he was stoned on a shorthanded breakaway by Neuvirth.

11 minutes in the period and Voracek nearly managed to sneak the puck between Price and the right post but Price sealed it off even though he, and everyone else, lost sight of the puck on the play. With 7 minutes left in the period the Canadians went back to work on the powerplay with a chance to make it 5-0. They nearly did that on a Stamkos shot from the bottom of the left circle. I’ve got no idea how Stamkos didn’t score on here.

Getzlaf found himself all alone in the slot but his shot went off the post and wide. Tavares directed a puck towards the net which caused a scramble but Neuvirth stood tall again. Seconds later the Canadians would score again off of a Jonathan Toews shot in front of the net. Toews to Getzlaf, Getzlaf back to Toews, Toews deposits the puck into the net. 5-0 Canada.

And at that, the game is officially over. It’s not just score, it’s just the way the Canadians scored their 5 goals. They just danced around the Czechs and seemed to be playing on an entirely other level. Every time Team Canada has the puck in the offensive zone, they get a quality scoring chance. That’s beat the Czechs down and kept them down. Michal Neuvirth is basically standing at the wrong end of a shooting gallery.

Team Czech Republic did ring another puck off the post with 30 seconds left in the 2nd but that did little to change the swing of momentum. I forget who said it, but one of the commentators said the Czechs got “dump trucked” by the Canadians, and I think that’s a very apt description.

Good period: Everyone on Team Canada, again.

Tough period: Anyone not named Michal Neuvirth in a Czech Republic jersey.

Third Period

Wait, they played the third period? There’s no Mercy Rule in the World Cup of Hockey? Oh. Well, shoot. This is awkward.

The Czechs drew a penalty 2 minutes into the period and nearly scored on the next rush down the ice with the goalie pulled. A quick chance from Voracek through traffic was snatched by Price who saw the puck nearly the whole way. The Canadians pressed a little bit in the first 5 minutes for that sixth goal but weren’t too aggressive in their pursuit, instead hoping to get out of the game without injury.

Team Canada scored on a point shot from Alex Pietrangelo on the powerplay to make it 6-0 with 7 minutes left. Which level of tiebreaker is goal differential in this tournament? Team Canada’s padding theirs for sure.

This game was over when the Czechs gave up that first goal to Crosby, they never regained the initiative and instead spent the rest of the game behind the 8 ball. It was a pretty boring final 10 minutes, the Canadians went into “chew the clock” mode and the Czechs failed to break through and put one past Carey Price.

This was total domination after the first 5 minutes. The Canadians mollywhopped the Czechs for the last 55 minutes of the game.

Good period: Everybody on Team Canada, again, again. They had 12 guys who had 1 point. What else did you expect here?

Tough period: Czech Republic special teams.

How’d Petr Mrazek Play?

Petr Mrazek started the game as the backup goalie and that’s how he ended it. I’m somewhat glad he didn’t play because I wouldn’t really enjoy watching my starting netminder get buried under 50+ shots on goal and then appear to be injured at the end of the game.