The streak is over.
After 16 straight wins at the World Hockey Championships, Canada lost a game. The 4-0 shutout loss came at the hands of Finland, who are now the only undefeated team in the tournament at 7-0.
It wasn’t as bad as the scoreboard suggests, as Canada actually outshot Finland 21-19 in the game, but couldn’t get one past 27-year-old netminder Mikko Koskinen. In the other crease, it was a forgettable start for Edmonton Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot, who allowed four goals on just 19 shots.
“I think we had one of the best starts we’ve had all tournament,” said Team Canada captain Corey Perry. “We hemmed them in for a little while. Things happen and it doesn’t go in the net all the time but you just have to keep pushing.”
Perry was the subject of a controversial play in the third period, when he appeared to clip the leg of Patrik Laine on his way to the bench.
— Robert Söderlind (@HockeyWebCast) May 17, 2016
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Perry said in regards to the incident.
Besides goaltending, an issue in the game for Canada was discipline. The team took six minor penalties against Finland after taking only 15 in the other six games combined (2.5 penalty/game average).
“I think we have to be a little more disciplined,” said Ryan O’Reilly. “But it was an emotional game. That was the team we’ve been looking forward to all tournament and you have to give them credit, they played a much better game than us.”
Prior to the game, Talbot led all starting goaltenders in the tournament with a .960 save percentage. He now sits in fifth with a still respectable .925. Meanwhile, Calvin Pickard has done everything asked of him, only allowing one goal on 35 shots in the tournament (.971 SV%). Still, expect Talbot to get the start in the quarters given that both of Pickard’s starts – versus Belarus and France – were against minnows of the hockey world.
Peters says they talked about pulling Talbot after two periods. Will discuss quarter final plan tomorrow after looking at video and meeting
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) May 17, 2016
For Canada, it was their first loss at this tournament since May 22, 2014. That game was a 3-2 defeat in the quarterfinals to – who else – Finland.
“There’s nothing worse than losing,” said O’Reilly. “But this is a good wake up call for us. No matter what happens, it’s one game and we have to take it one shift at a time.”
Canada will put this game behind them and now turn their attention to their quarterfinal matchup against Team Sweden.
That means Flames fans will get to see Mikael Backlund in action. The 27-year-old Swede has 3 goals and one assist in seven games this tournament, and has also won 56.5% of his faceoffs.
Sweden finished third in Group A with a 3-2-0-2 record. You can catch that game Thursday morning at 11:15 a.m. on TSN.