On paper Team Canada has the best and deepest roster at the 2016 the World Cup.
They played like it on Saturday in a convincing 6-0 win over the Czech Republic in their World Cup debut.
This game was never really close from the start as Canada ended the game with a commanding edge on the shot chart (50-27) controlled the pace of the game, and spent most of the night in the Czech Republic end of the ice creating chance after chance and getting goals from six different players — Sidney Crosby, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Joe Thornton, Jonathan Toews and Alex Pietrangelo.
Crosby opened the scoring midway through the first period when he banked a shot in off the back of Czech Republic goaltender Michal Neuvirth. The Czech Republic challenged the goal because they felt Steven Stamkos‘ stick had impeded Neuvirth’s ability to slide across his goal crease and make the save, but the replay officials upheld the call on the ice.
Eight minutes later Marchand gave Canada a 2-0 lead when he deflected a Brent Burns one-timer from the blue line past Neuvirth following a clean offensive zone faceoff win by Crosby.
Canada pretty much put the game away just two minutes later when Patrice Bergeron scored a buzzer beating goal.
When Canada won Gold at the 2014 Olympics it did so by carrying the play but not really winning in dominant fashion on the scoreboard, winning a lot of tight, low-scoring games.
The scores of those games did not fully indicate the level of dominance on display. On Saturday, the score matched it.
When looking at the talent on these two rosters this was probably going to be one of the more lopsided matchups in the tournament. The Czech Republic roster was already one of the weakest ones in the tournament and had several key players back out of the tournament due to injury in the days and weeks leading up to it. Canada, meanwhile, had a roster that is so deep that even after losing Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn (two of the top scorers in the NHL right now) to injury they still had a roster that was so good that Claude Giroux (the NHL’s top scorer since the 2011-12 season) had to watch Saturday’s game from the press box.
While Canada’s offensive stars were filling the net, Carey Price stopped all 27 shots he faced in net.
After missing almost all of the 2015-16 season due to injury, he is already starting to look like the goalie that dominated the NHL in 2014-15 when he won pretty much every major individual award that he could. That is great news not only for Canada, but also his NHL team, the Montreal Canadiens. On the International stage he now has three consecutive shutouts for Canada dating back to the 2014 Olympics. The last goal he surrendered came in the quarterfinals of the 2014 Olympics when he allowed one goal against Latvia. Since then he has shut out the United States, Sweden and now the Czech Republic.
Including that Olympic performance, Canada has allowed just three goals in its past seven best-on-best tournament games with NHL players.
Canada returns to action on Tuesday when it takes on a United States that is coming off of a rough performance on Saturday.
The Czech Republic plays Team Europe, who were 3-0 winners over the United States.