Drew Doughty isn’t having any trouble picking his moments for Canada.
The Kings’ D-man tried a few blueline spin-o-ramas, got away with them all, and potted two goals including the overtime winner to push Canada 2-1 over stubborn Finland on Sunday.
In a humble hockey way, Doughty has no sweeping explanation for his streak, “I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t score like this in LA at all, a lot of it is just my teammates. They’re doing a great job getting me the puck,” he said.
The first period was played largely in Finland’s end, with Canada working the puck well between the point and below the red line. That sparked the cycle, and with it Sidney Crosby drew the game’s first penalty, on which Doughty would score with his captain’s help. Shea Weber also assisted, “Teams collapse so well over here, you want to work the puck high to low. We’ve talked about that the whole tournament I think that’s why our defence has got some goals.”
Canada actually put two pucks in the net in the first. After one landed atop the Finnish cage, Rick Nash slapped at it with his stick, bouncing it off Rask’s back and into the net. It didn’t tally.
Crisp passes, puck control. That was the first period. Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund clearly didn’t joke and high five his players in the first intermission. In the second, they were resilient, began to choke off the middle and kill Canadian momentum.
Teemu Selanne framed the Finns as underdogs coming in, a slant he more or less continued after the game, “When we realized that we can compete against these guys I think we played well and it could go either way,” said Selanne.
He may be right. Whether it was the Finns believing, or Canada stumped by the trap, everything went nobody’s way in particular until Tuomo Ruutu tipped one past Carey Price with exactly two minutes left in the second. Actually, maybe that was Finland’s plan all along.
Tie game. The Finnish campaign carried on into the third. Big Tuuka was good. At blocking perimeter shots. Canada’s forwards didn’t get much of anything towards him, until later when blue and white resolve showed a little fatigue. Toews had a tip. Vlasic a wide open look on the left wing. Still, regulation ended all even.
And then Drew Doughty broke through again. His goal at 2:32 of overtime, assisted by ‘Carts’, so summoned a parade of red jerseys behind the Finnish net. The just under 12-thousand fans, many Russian, seemed disappointed. They erupted whenever Finland had the puck.
With small pockets of Canadian fans on their feet, partisan divisions mattered little to Doughty, “I forget about everything that’s going on around me and I’m just focused in on the game, having fun,” said Doughty. And it’s working. He now has four goals, the team’s most, add an assist from the Norway game and he’s the points champ too. Keep the Doughty-show going, if you’re a Canadian fan.
Canada now gets two days off before quarterfinals on Wednesday. They have the luxury of knowing which team they could face there, it’s either Switzerland or Latvia, whoever wins on Tuesday.