Team Canada crushes Austria 6-0 in Olympics prelim - New York News

Canada crushes Austria 6-0

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

By squaring off against Austria, Team Canada would have an opportunity to establish some dominance. They did just that and skated away with a 6-0 victory.

After Thursday's match, head coach Mike Babcock couldn't have been satisfied although his club beat Norway. After this win Babcock is probably feeling better but he won't be content, and will demand the same from his players.

Team Canada was by far the better club but they had some turnovers early. Against Austria the Canadians highest level wasn't required but bad habits can set in. Babcock is well aware of the same and was changing line combinations throughout the contest.

Babcock kept his troops sharp and also was able to experiment. There isn't a lot of practice time before the Games begin and with a blowout win Babcock learned more about his club on Friday.

It wasn't a shock Babcock got a more aggressive start from his group. Canada came out strong and had a 2-0 lead after the first frame. Their 16-7 shot advantage was indicative of play.

To open the scoring, Drew Doughty scored on a wrist shot from near the blueline. Less than five minutes later Shea Weber received a through the legs drop pass from Corey Perry and blistered a slap shot past a stunned Bernhard Starkbaum. After Weber's blast things didn't get any better for Starkbaum.

In the second period Jeff Carter scored a natural hat trick and Canada took a 5-0 lead. That was the first natural hat trick in the Olympics since 1988. Carter was assisted on all three goals be Patrick Marleau. Ryan Getzlaf added to the rout and gave Canada a 6-0 lead through 40 minutes. Starkbaum was replaced to start the third period by Mathias Lange.

Roberto Luongo got the start and needed to make some sneaky tough saves in the opening period. Actually Austria's Michael Grabner had Luongo beat toward the end of the first period but the puck didn't cross the line. Luongo was solid throughout and was called upon to make a few nice stops in the final frame. Luongo earned a shutout by stopping all 23 shots.

After the opening game it was highly likely Babcock would not stand pat. He did not as Patrick Sharp and Dan Hamhuis were scratches.

Most likely, Sharp was among a few forwards that were in jeopardy of not dressing. Patrick Marleau started the game in place of Sharp on the Jonathan Toews line. Matt Duchene was in the lineup instead of Sharp and skated with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry but that didn't stay the same all game. Defenseman PK Subban made his first Olympic appearance and was used with different partners.

Toews was involved and picked up an assist while recording two shots and finished a +3. The Toews line changed for this game as he was teamed Marleau and Carter. The line was very productive so it will be interesting to see if Sharp dresses on Sunday. Babcock may do more tinkering as the Sidney Crosby line has been quiet.

Duncan Keith had three shots and finished a +3 for the game. Keith and Weber are a formidable duo and both seem comfortable playing with one another.

The only real controversy heading into Sunday's match with Finland is if Babcock will stick with Luongo between the pipes or go back to Carey Price. It is likely Finland will offer the stiffest challenge thus far to Canada but they would also be considered a big underdog. Finland is coming off a 5-1 win versus Norway.

Team USA took care of any goaltender mystery as Jonathan Quick will start again tomorrow versus Russia. Babcock can look to the more experienced Luongo or turn to Price who has had the better regular season.

I will back tomorrow morning after the US-Russia game and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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