Ovechkin & Co. routed by avalanche of goals
Russia never had a chance.
For the first time at the 2010 Winter Olympics, Canada's men's hockey team used the rabid support of its home crowd as high-octane fuel for a dynamic performance. It scored a goal just 2 minutes, 21 seconds into the game and never stopped, the deafening roar of the fans at Canada Hockey Place in downtown Vancouver burying Alex Ovechkin and the Russians under an avalanche of noise.
The Canadians scored seven of the first nine goals in Wednesday's much-anticipated quarterfinal game. Six different players contributed a goal through the first two periods as Canada routed Russia, 7-3, to advance to the semifinals.
Canada, which just three day earlier appeared vulnerable after a 5-3 loss to the United States, suddenly looks like the tournament favorite again. Neither team was happy that its performance in pool play left it facing an elite team in the quarterfinals. The Canadians had hoped to see Russia in the gold-medal game -- if at all -- and not one day after expending extra energy in a first-round blowout victory over Germany.
Then again, maybe it was the Russians who should have been upset over the luck of that draw. Facing Canada on its home ice proved far too big a task to overcome.
Worst of all was Russian goalie Evgeni Nabokov. A star with the San Jose Sharks in the NHL, Nabokov allowed six goals on just 23 shots. His positioning was poor. He failed to make the timely save and his teammates paid the price. By the time Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov finally pulled Nabokov 24 minutes into the game, it was far too late.
The Russians showed some life in front of new goalie Ilya Bryzgalov when forward Maxim Afinogenov scored to cut the lead to 6-2. But Canadian forward Corey Perry beat Bryzgalov just over five minutes later. It was Perry's second goal of the night and put the game out of reach at 7-2.