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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Canada holds off Team Europe in Game 1 of World Cup of Hockey final

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TORONTO - Canadians unbeaten Tuesday showed that even at their worst, they are the best team at the World Cup of Hockey.

The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Sidney Crosby has created a pair of goals to lead unusually sloppy Team Canada to a 3-1 win against the European team in Game 1 of the best-of- series three championship. Canada may enter the title with a victory Thursday (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN 2)

"We need more guys on deck we had tonight," said Canadian coach Mike Babcock.

Babcock said he did not think "we moved the puck out of our all tonight area."

His players shared his assessment of their level of play below normal, yet Canadians have found a way to win their fifth straight game of the tournament. They outscored the opposition 22-7.

"We showed that we can play with them," said EU Anze Kopitar captain.

Kopitar said the effort of the Europeans was "probably our best game of the tournament."

Canada defenseman Drew Doughty said that Canadians must play better in Game 2 because he expects the Europeans to "be even more hungry."

"They really gave us our greatest fear," Doughty said.

The Europeans, with players from eight different countries were biggest surprise of the tournament. They won by playing strong defensively and score goals on time. They just could not get the goals they need against Canada.

"We must think that we have to play our best to beat them," said Doughty.

Marchand and Bergeron scored a goal each, and Crosby picked up two assists to pace the Canadians. The line of Crosby has 22 points in five games. Marchand now has four goals in five games, and Crosby has nine points leading the tournament on three goals and six assists. Bergeron has six points.

"I think we can (play) better, but eventually we found a way to win," said Crosby. "This is important. We simply want to ensure that we give ourselves a chance by the way we play. We felt like we shot (puck) on a bit and lost some battles, particularly in first two periods. "

Crosby is the favorite to win the tournament MVP honors.

"It is probably the best player of our generation," said Canada goalie Carey Price. "It provides a lot of leadership and he is a player of the momentum of change."

The solid price game gave the team a boost when the Europeans generated 17 shots and cut Canada's lead to 2-1 in the second period.

"You would like to have things perfect every night, but it is simply not true," said Babcock.

Team coach Ralph Krueger of Europe said he took encouragement from the fact that the Europeans were in the game until the end.

"We can take confidence that we can win against Team Canada," said Krueger. "But it has to be perfect, and it was certainly not today in all aspects. But many good things there, a lot of effort, and something to build on for Game 2. "

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