It would appear to be a one-sided victory when you look at the scoreboard, but Team Canada’s 4-1 win over Team Finland was close, hard fought one. Finland, desperate to avoid dropping three straight games to open the tournament, kept the game close until late in the third period, but ultimately couldn’t contain Canada’s explosive offence.
It wouldn’t take long for Canada to find the back of the net, with Sam Reinhart capitalizing only five minutes into the game. Off a Shea Theadore point shot on the powerplay, Reinhart would tip the puck, hit a post, collect his own rebound and slip it past Juuse Saros for a 1-0 lead.
Reinhart would strike again midway through the second period, tipping a puck over Saros’ shoulder after a beautiful passing play between Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. Canada’s 2-0 lead wouldn’t hold for long however, as Samuel Morin would whiff on a clearing attempt and allow Montreal Canadiens prospect Arturri Lehkonen to walk in all alone. It’d take two attempts, but the Finnish captain would eventually get the puck past Zach Fucale, breaking Canada’s lengthy shutout streak and pulling the Finns within a goal.
It wouldn’t be until the final ten minutes of the game before Canada would pull away from Finland. Hometown hero Anthony Duclair and Curtis Lazar would add two more goals late in the game, bringing the Bell Centre to its feet and securing a Canada victory. Fucale would make 27 saves in the win, many of them of the difficult variety.
Sam Reinhart is tonight’s Maple Warrior, but I’d give it to the entire Domi-Reinhart-Duclair line if I could. They were dangerous all night, combining for three goals and six points on the night.
With all the big time players Canada has upfront, including Connor McDavid, Domi, Lazar, Duclair, it’s easy to forget about how good Sam Reinhart really is, and how important he is to Canada’s success. The second overall pick in last year’s NHL Draft, Reinhart has two goals and five points in three games, just one point back of tournament leader and Canadian third liner Nic Petan.
*For a great rundown on Canada’s defense corps this year, be sure to check this out at NHLNumbers.com
Around the Tournament
With all due respect to the Canadians, today’s most exciting matchup was probably Sweden vs. Russia, with William Nylander and Co. rallying from behind for a 3-2 victory. The win further cements Sweden as the top team in Group B, with a perfect 3-0 record and nine points. Nylander assisted on two of Sweden’s markers, bringing his point total to four in three games.
Team USA was also in action today, earning a 3-0 victory over Slovakia. With the win the Americans kept pace with Canada, now trailing the Group A leaders by a single point (as one of their three victories came in overtime). The real story of the game however was Slovakian goaltender Denis Golda, who made 42 saves against an impressive American attack.
Also in action earlier today was the Czech Republic, who handed Denmark their second heatbreaking OT loss of the tournament. Denmark, who are winless in three games, now sit at the bottom of the Group B pool, and will need a strong effort against the Swiss tomorrow in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.