Crosby-led Canada still can't be beat in best-on-best hockey

Hockey World Cup of Hockey-Final-Team Canada vs Team Europe

Patrice Bergeron scored a power-play goal with only 2:53 to go in regulation to tie the game for Canada and then his Boston Bruins' linemate Brad Marchand scored the victor - shorthanded - with 43.1 seconds on the clock to give Canada a heart-stopping 2-1 victory. "It's the biggest stage in the world right now and to be part of it is an incredible honor".

"The way Sid's line is playing, the way Price is playing, you can have an off-game and still find a way to win a game", Jonathan Toews said ahead of Game 2 of the best-of-three final.

It looked like the 2016 World Cup of Hockey was set to go the distance until Patrice Bergeron pulled Canada even before Brad Marchand effectively secured a Team Canada victory with a shorthanded goal.

After Team Europe forced the Canadians to stumble and bumble their way through the opening 57 minutes of the second game of the best-of-three final, Bergeron deflected home a Brent Burns shot on the power play with 2:53 remaining in the third period to tie the game. "When you get a penalty that late in the game, you're just trying to force overtime".

Canada has won 16 straight games, including two Olympic gold medals, since losing to the the 2010 Olympics.

"It's special", said Crosby, who joins Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky as the only players to win the Conn Smythe, Hart Trophy and Canada Cup/World Cup MVP.

Team Europe came five minutes from beating Team Canada and forcing a Game 3 on Saturday night. This was a made-up team comprised of eight different countries, but the players still had pride.

After he made several important stops, he was sharp again during Team Europe's late-game power play, stopping Marian Hossa from in close, seconds after defenceman Roman Josi clanked a shot off the post.

Unlike the last two times Canada trailed briefly to the US and Russian Federation, it could not come back against Europe quickly. Canada captain Sidney Crosby (87) and teammates pose for a photograph with the trophy after defeating Europe in the World Cup of Hockey finals, in Toronto on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. Canadian defenders mismanaged pucks at the blue line twice on a first-period power play, leading to unsafe short-handed rushes for the Europeans, both of which were stopped by Price. Earlier in the same shift, the New York Islanders forward missed the net on a one-timer opportunity.

Team Europe wasn't given much of a chance at the start of the World Cup of Hockey.

Then, in Game 1 of the championship series, Europe emerged a worthy challenger, taking advantage of Canada's sloppy play in what was a one-goal game for 50 minutes. Sure, a group of National Hockey League players from eight European nations played better than the Canadians for much of Game 2. Canada, trailing after the first period for the first time all tournament, struggled against the stingy bend-but-don't-break Europeans.

Crosby was clearly frustrated, playing with a pair of Bruins, Marchand and Bergeron, who had combined for 22 points through the first five games.

"They're addicted to winning and they just make it happen", Babcock said.

In fact, all three goals in the decisive game were scored by Bruins players.

Crosby had a chance to score with 7-plus minutes left, but Halak kicked the shot away with his right skate. With the shooting lane wide open with two guys following Toews, Marchand got the puck off his stick quickly and beat a surprised Jaroslav Halak.

"Which nobody expected", said Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger, whose day job is chairman of Southampton FC.

Halak played nearly every single minute for Team Europe over the tournament.

"We turned this into a hell of a final".



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