Canada tops Rus­sia in over­time

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Will Gravess

Sid­ney Crosby and Ev­geni Malkin fought to a draw on their home ice.

PITTS­BURGH >> Sid­ney Crosby and Ev­geni Malkin fought to a draw on their home ice.

Canada, how­ever, re­mains a bit ahead of Rus­sia. At least for now.

Ryan Get­zlaf beat Sergei Bo­brovsky on a break­away at 3:29 of over­time to give Team Canada to a 3-2 vic­tory over Team Rus­sia in a World Cup of Hockey ex­hi­bi­tion Wed­nes­day night.

Bo­brovsky made 45 stops, some of them spec­tac­u­lar, but couldn’t wran­gle the puck when Get­zlaf slipped it be­tween his pads dur­ing the 3-on-3 ex­tra ses­sion.

John Tavares and Pa­trice Berg­eron scored for Canada. Crosby as­sisted on Berg­eron’s score while play­ing un­der Berg­eron’s score while play­ing un­der­neath the fa­mil­iar ban­ners at Con­sol En­ergy Cen­ter. Carey Price had 24 saves for Canada , which fin­ished 2-1 in ex­hi­bi­tions be­fore the eight-team tour­na­ment be­gins in Toronto this week­end.

“I think the whole thing with a short tour­na­ment event is to keep get­ting bet­ter, keep im­prov­ing and keep build­ing off each game,” said Crosby, who had two as­sists in the three ex­hi­bi­tions. “I think we’re able to do that. I think there’s still an­other level but I’m sure that’s the case for a lot of teams. We need to get to that level grad­u­ally.”

Artemi Pa­narin had a goal and an as­sist for the Rus­sians. Alexan­der Ovechkin also scored. Ev­geni Malkin as­sisted on Ovechkin’s goal to match long­time Pitts­burgh team­mate Crosby.

“We go up against each other a lot,” Malkin said. “He’s tough on the boards pro­tect­ing puck ev­ery time. It’s a hard bat­tle against him. I like how I play too.”

The Cana­di­ans open the tour­na­ment Satur­day against the Czech Repub­lic. Rus­sia, which went 1-1-1 in three tune­ups, be­gins on Sun­day against Swe­den.

“We didn’t lose the game right away,” Ovechkin said. “We bat­tled and got the lead. The boys feel much bet­ter now and for the fu­ture.”

Canada is a heavy fa­vorite to con­tinue its run atop in­ter­na­tional play, a surge that started with a tri­umph at the 2010 Olympics and con­tin­ued two years ago in Sochi when they grabbed gold again while the host Rus­sians missed the medal stand com­pletely.

Any­thing less than hear­ing “O Canada” play af­ter the fi­nals at the end of the month would be a dis­ap­point­ment, par­tic­u­larly at home. It’s a role Crosby and his coun­try­men thrive in though they’ve been a bit un­even dur­ing their three ex­hi­bi­tions, fol­low­ing up a 5-2 romp over the US last week­end with an up-and­down per­for­mance against Rus­sia. Canada dom­i­nated early then spent the mid­dle por­tion of the game on its heels a bit be­fore col­lect­ing it­self late.

“I think we’ve got­ten more and more com­fort­able,” Crosby said. “Spe­cial teams is go­ing to be big ... It’s a process but I thought we def­i­nitely got bet­ter with ev­ery game and gen­er­ated a lot.”

Crosby and Malkin both joked about fac­ing against each other on the same sheet of ice they’ve shared for a decade, with Crosby good na­turedly say­ing he may take a friendly shot at Malkin if the mo­ment called for it. The mo­ment ended up com­ing in the first pe­riod, when the two briefly met in the cor­ner be­fore Malkin skated away with both play­ers un­harmed.

Canada con­trolled the first pe­riod and took the lead when Crosby fed a streak­ing Berg­eron , who slipped it by Bo­brovsky to put the Cana­di­ans in front dur­ing a 20-minute stretch in which they out­shot the Rus­sians 14-5 and tilted the ice heav­ily to once side.

Rus­sia slowly found its foot­ing and fi­nally con­verted when Malkin won a face­off and dropped it to Pa­narin, who slipped it across the ice to Ovechkin. The Wash­ing­ton Cap­i­tals star drilled a one-time from his fa­mil­iar spot in the left cir­cle to tie it 3:40 into the third . Pa­narin put Rus­sia up less than four min­utes later when he jumped on a re­bound to give the Rus­sians the lead.

Tavares picked up his third goal in as many ex­hi­bi­tions by thread­ing a wrist shot from the top of zone by Bo­brovsky at 13:58. Bo­brovsky sent the game to over­time with a se­ries of stel­lar stops in the fi­nal min­utes of reg­u­la­tion, in­clud­ing a slick glove hand save against Crosby from in close.

”I like how we play,” Malkin said. “Next time we play semi­fi­nal or fi­nal I hope.”

GENE J. PUSKAR — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Team Canada’s Ryan Get­zlaf scores in over­time past Team Rus­sia goalie Sergei Bo­brovsky dur­ing a World Cup of Hockey ex­hi­bi­tion game in Pitts­burgh on Wed­nes­day.

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