Talking Points: Canada 6, Austria 0

Talking Points: Canada 6, Austria 0
February 14, 2014, 2:45 pm
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Canada took care of business easily against Austria on Friday, winning 6-0, and advancing to 2-0 in Group B. Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points.

GOLD STAR: Jeff Carter was on the ice for a total of 5:27 in the first two periods, and finished it with the first natural Olympic hat trick for a Canadian in 58 years, being on ice for five of Canada’s six goals, a plus-5 rating and five shots on net in the second period alone. For a player that was moved off the top line with Chris Kunitz and Sidney Crosby, it was an impressive burst of offense that the Los Angeles Kings sniper has been fully capable of in his NHL career. On a team in Canada that’s looking for depth in their scoring, they’ve found it with the line of Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Toews and Jeff Carter. Amazingly Carter finished with a game-low of 8:46 in ice for Canada despite his offensive pyrotechnics.

BLACK EYE: Former UMass defenseman Thomas Pock was a standout in Hockey East and had a short NHL career, but wasn’t in the same class as Team Canada on Friday night in Russia. The offensive defenseman finished with a minus-2 and zero shots on net in 15:36 of ice time, and couldn’t help hold back the Canadians once they revved things up in the second period. Michael Grabner and Thomas Vanek didn’t fare much better as the two most dangerous forwards on Austria, but they were simply overwhelmed by the depth, starpower and sheer will to win of Canada.

TURNING POINT: Canada won the game in the middle of the second period while Jeff Carter was in the middle of his natural hat trick, and scored a hustle goal after goaltender Bernhard Starkbaum gave up the puck to a hard-charging Patrick Marleau behind Austria’s net. That’s when the game went from competitive to out-of-reach for Austria, and Canada really turned on the cruise control jets for the rest of the game. It was the first natural overall in the Olympics since 1988, and is coupled with Michael Grabner’s hat trick from Austria’s opening loss to Finland.

HONORABLE MENTION: Shea Weber finished with two points (goal, assist), a plus-2 and three shots on net in 19:50 of ice time, and scored in the Austrian net with his one-time goal in the first period that set the tone for Canada. The Canadian defensemen have been excellent thus far in the first two games: Weber and Drew Doughty both have goals scored in the first couple of games for Canada, and provide an area where the Canucks might have the biggest team advantage over the rest of the world. Watching Weber play on a team like Canada with top level skill is something else.

BY THE NUMBERS: -- 1 – the number of Olympic games on the resumes of both defenseman P.K. Subban and forward Matt Duchene after making their debuts against Austria. Bruins center Patrice Bergeron didn’t get on the scoreboard after registering a pair of assists in the opening win for Team Canada, but had a couple of great passing set-ups in his 15:14 of ice time. Bergeron finished with a pair of shots on goal, and won 5-of-7 face-offs in what’s been a dynamite line with John Tavares and Jamie Benn.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Each guy played their own game tonight, and I think confidence is going to come as we go along here. [Carter] was just finding the right spots, and we were just feeding off each other. It was nice to see a few go in as a line.” –Jonathan Toews, to Pierre McGuire on NBCSN.