Saturday, May 04, 2013

Dubnyk solid in Canada's tournament opener

It was far from a masterful performance but it was still more than enough for Lindy Ruff's Team Canada side to squeak by Denmark 3-1, in the 2013 World Championship debut for both sides. Colorado Avalanche sniper Matt Duchene led the charge upfront with a pair of highlight reel goals, while Edmonton Oilers netminder Devan Dubnyk was solid, stopping twenty-four of the twenty-five shots fired his way.

Not surprisingly Canada came out flat as a board, as they generally do in their first game of the championship, and were fortunate to only be down 1-0 after the opening period of play. Morten Green gave the Danes an early lead, splitting the defence pairing of T.J. Brodie and Jay Harrison, before beating Dubnyk high under the bar with a stunning backhand finish.

The goal came with captain Eric Staal off for slashing and if not for a pair of clutch stops from the Oilers netminder off Phoenix Coyotes forward Mikkel Boedker, Canada would have also yielded a shorthanded marker in the first period of play. All things considered, Dubnyk was solid in his debut and showed the ability of making the clutch stop when called upon.

Canada started to find their legs in period two and were finally rewarded with the equalizer, courtesy of some hard work down low by Duchene. The talented youngster circled around the Denmark net, fighting off a couple of defenders, before flipping a nifty little backend up and over starter Simon Nielsen. Just like that, Canada was back on level terms and hungry for more.

They wasted little time grabbing their first lead of the night, as Steven Stamkos took a great feed from Staal and tucked home what will likely be his first of many during the tournament, giving Canada a 2-1 lead. The goal came with Canada on the man advantage, thanks to an ill-advised slashing minor from Jesper Jensen, all of 1:23 after the Duchene icebreaker.

Colorado's leading scorer would close out the scoring seven minutes into the third, burying a lovely little touch pass from Jordan Eberle, after weaving his through three Danish defenders. It was a stunning individual effort from the former third overall pick and should set the tone for what fans can expect from the trio of Duchene, Eberle and Taylor Hall.

Canada will be back in action on Sunday morning, as they take on Switzerland in game number two of the preliminary round. Ruff will turn to Coyotes netminder Mike Smith, as he starts his goaltender rotation during round robin play. Ultimately, Team Canada's bench boss is hoping one of Dubnyk or Smith steps up and grabs the starters role before the elimination round.

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