Carey Price and the rest of Team Canada began their Olympic hockey schedule with a 3-1 win over Norway this afternoon.
The game started much more evenly than was expected by most, as the score remained tied after first period. In fact, Canada only outshot the Norwegians, who have but one NHL player in Mats Zuccarelo of the New York Rangers on their roster, nine to eight.
Canada finally got on the board 6:20 into the second period when Shea Weber launched a slap shot over the blocker of Norwegian goaltender Lars Haugen. Jamie Benn extended the lead to two when he converted a nice pass from Boston Bruin center Patrice Bergeron.
Canada absolutely dominated the second period, outshooting their opponent 14-2 and opening the 2-0 lead in the process. Haugen kept the game close with some exceptional play in Norway’s net.
Norway briefly pulled within one when they scored just 22 seconds into the third period on a power play. Price had come out of the crease to stop the puck behind the net, but his defenseman Alex Pietrangelo did not retrieve the loose puck and it was picked up by Mathis Olimb. Olimb circled out into the slot and threw the puck towards the net. It deflected off the body of former Philadelphia Flyer and Edmonton Oiler Patrick Thoresen and found its way behind Price.
Drew Doughty restored the Canadians two goal lead when he snuck in off the blue line and found the back of the net with a backhand from in tight. It was just over a minute after the Thoresen goal, and all of Canada breathed a sigh of relief when the puck crossed the line.
A 3-1 win against Norway is not what most Canadians had in mind when they looked at the schedule. However, this Norwegian team played an exceptional game, especially on the defensive side of things and did not allow the powerhouse team from Canada to earn many chances.
From a Montreal Canadiens point of view, a 3-1 win was the perfect score. First of all, Price was actually tested fairly often in the first and third periods, as Norway totaled 20 shots in the game. So even though he allowed a goal to the Norwegians, I would say he played a great game in his first taste of Olympic hockey.
On the other side of things, Canada failed to generate anywhere near the amount of chances one would expect against a team with one NHLer. With P.K. Subban sitting this game out, and Canada nervous over the amount of chances they created, you can bet it was the last game Subban will watch from the stands.
Canada plays Austria tomorrow, and it seems their Habs players will be switching roles. Price will be watching as the backup to Roberto Luongo and Subban will draw into the lineup, likely in favor of Dan Hamhuis.