TORONTO – Sidney Crosby was at his best on one of the biggest hockey scenes.
Crosby scored once and assisted on both goals from Brad Marchand, including the winner early in the third period to help Canada beat Russia 5-3 on Saturday night at the World Cup semi- hockey final.
“He always comes big in big games,” said Marchand.
The Canadians will face the winner of Sweden-Team Europe Sunday’s game in the final best-of-three who will start Tuesday night.
“We will be measured on what happens next,” said coach Mike Babcock, who helped Canada win gold at the last two Olympics winter.
Crosby opened the scoring at 07:40 in the game on a spectacular sequence, showing that he has a lot of energy despite a brief summer between winning the Stanley Cup and competing in the World Cup Of Hockey Jersey.
“It was short, but exciting, knowing that we came here,” he said.
Crosby skated hard into a corner, forcing Alexey Marchenko to give up the puck sooner than he wanted. Dmitry Kulikov finished with the puck in the left circle, but had not long because Crosby snatched.
Crosby was the dance of the washer on both sides of his stick as he skated in front of the crease and when Sergei Bobrovsky went down on her left hip, he puck backhand into the net without Russian player near him.
“I had a little more time than you usually get,” said Crosby.
Bobrovsky made 16 of his 42 saves in the first period, keeping the Russians in it.
“That’s why it is one of the best goalkeepers in the world,” said teammate Alex Ovechkin. “He played unbelievable. When they score, it’s not his fault. He gave us a chance. ”
Nikita Kucherov 1-all in the middle of the first and Evgeny Kuznetsov took the lead in Russia 2-1 with 3:36 left in the second.
Crosby, twice Olympic gold medalist and two-time champion Stanley Cup, made a cross pass crease to set up Marchand for his tying goal just 1:12 after Russia argued.
“There is no chance they can follow if we keep doing what we do,” Babcock recalled telling his team.
The Russians, and perhaps another team may not have much of a chance to win against a team led Crosby with some of the biggest stars of the game.
With a chance to take a pivotal lead in the third, Crosby chose to give up the puck, not shoot. He deftly dropped a pass to Marchand above the left circle to assist on the winning goal 1:16 into the third.
Corey Perry gave Canada a two-goal cushion at 5:48 of the third and John Tavares made 4-2 midway in the period.
Carey Price made 31 saves for Canadians. He made some momentum-stunting saves early in the first, but forward and defensive Poké-fold check defenders made its relatively easy job for most of the night.
Russia has not been able to return to a game in which he gave up more than two times more blows he put on the net price protected until pulling their goalie late to add an extra skater in attempted nothing to lose to get back in the game. Artemi Panarin scored with nine seconds, making the score look a little more respectable.
The Russians were without one of their best players, Pavel Datsyuk, due to an injury to the lower body.
As usual in a game of NHL stars, Crosby came out on top against Ovechkin.
It looked as if it could end this way even before the puck dropped. Blackhawks Jersey.
The two captains were called center ice for a goodwill gesture, pairing them with young boys on skates carrying flags representing each country.
While Crosby put his arm around the young beside him, a stone face Ovechkin stood with his gloves at his side.
Crosby helped the hosts Canadians crush Ovechkin Russians led 7-3 in the quarterfinals of Vancouver 2010. Four years later, with a chance of redemption at the Winter Olympics in Russia, Ovechkin could not do enough to help his team to go beyond the quarterfinals while Crosby and Canadians again won gold. Ovechkin is left waiting and wondering if he will ever hoist the Stanley Cup.
Given a chance to help his team and the country get a win desperately wanted, Ovechkin did not have a shot through two periods and finished with only two shots.
“Maybe he does not have enough luck,” said Russian coach Oleg Znarok by an interpreter.