TORONTO – (Wire Service Report) – Fresh off signing an eight-year, $49 million contract extension with the Boston Bruins, Brad Marchand continued his strong play in the World Cup of Hockey for Team Canada.
Marchand (goal, assist) teamed with linemates Sidney Crosby (two assists) and Patrice Bergeron (goal, assist) to help Team Canada earn a 3-1 win in Game 1 of the best-of-three final series against Team Europe in Toronto on Tuesday.
“They’re good, and they’ve had a good tournament,” Canada coach Mike Babcock said of his top line. “They’ve played real well. They’ve got three elite players on it and all different types of players, but they’ve been really good.”
The extension Marchand signed killed rumors that Crosby’s NHL team, Pittsburgh, would pursue the pesky winger, given his chemistry with the Penguins’ star. The Marchand-Crosby-Bergeron line has been the best in the tournament. Marchand opened the scoring just 2:33 into the game by getting behind the defense after stepping out of the penalty box. The goal was his tournament-high fourth in five games. Steven Stamkos scored his first of the tournament, converting a pass from Ryan Getzlaf on a two-on-one break at 13:20, to give Canada (5-0-0) a 2-0 advantage after the first period.
Tomas Tatar continue his hot streak, scoring his third goal in the past two games, seven minutes into the second period to bring Team Europe (3-2-0) within a goal heading into the third period. However, Marchand, Crosby and Bergeron struck again in the third, with Crosby earning his fourth assist of the tourney on Bergeron’s first goal at 9:24 to provide the insurance.
“I think if you cut the goals out of the videos, there’s an even chance opportunity here for us with Canada, which we’re proud of that effort, and the creation of it, but we’re very frustrated, of course, with what and how we gave up the goals we did,” Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger said.
“Just a little bit too much risk at the wrong times and the power of Canada is that, to take opportunities and jam them into the net.”
Canada goaltender Carey Price made 32 saves while Europe’s Jaroslav Halak made 35 in the losing effort.
Game 2 is Thursday, with Europe needing to win to extend the series to a Game 3 on Saturday.
“Well, we’ve done well with adversity in this month,” Krueger said. “We’ve had a few situations of it, and I think knowing these players, this will give us more fuel for Game 2, and we’ll come out of this stronger.
“Again, we’re here to continue to grow and to learn and evolve, and we’re very angry right now, which is a good thing. But we also are confident with what we felt today, and it makes us that much more frustrated at the moment. I’m sure we’re going to come out fighting very strong in Game 2.”