Team Europe has already done more than anybody expected them to do at the World Cup by reaching the Final thanks to their stunning overtime win against Sweden in the semifinal on Sunday.
Just getting to this point, after beating the United States and Sweden — two of the world’s biggest hockey powers — along the way is a major accomplishment that would have seemed to be a nearly impossible task just two weeks ago.
Now they have one more seemingly impossible task in front of them: Beat Canada.
And not just beat Canada, but beat them twice.
In only three games.
For any team in this tournament that would have been a tall task in the championship round. Not only does Canada bring an insanely deep roster to the table that has multiple MVP candidates, Norris Trophy candidates, and Vezina Trophy candidates on it, but their recent play on the ice matches the absurdity of the roster on paper.
They don’t just win, they dominate teams.
Since the start of the 2014 Olympics this is what Team Canada has done to its opponents in the two major best-on-best tournaments it has played:
- They are 10-0
- They have outscored teams by a 36-9 margin
- They are coming off of a semifinal game against Russia where they nearly put up 50 shots on goal in a regulation game
- They have allowed more than one goal in just two of those games, and more than two goals just once
The games haven’t even been as close as the final scores would indicate because the final scores haven’t always reflected the level of dominance on display. A one or two goal deficit against these guys and their style of play usually feels like a 50 goal deficit.
On paper, this seems like it should already be over before it even begins.
But the beauty of a short series is that even when the two teams don’t match up on paper, random things can happen, mostly because of the X-factor that is goaltending.
It is going to take all of that and more to help Europe beat Canada two times over the next week.
They have already done what seemed to be the impossible to get to this point. Now they just have to do what seems to be the impossible again.