Canada beats Switzerland in dramatic shootout
Four years to the day after Switzerland upset Canada at the Turin Games, history almost made a stunning repeat—this time on Canadian ice at the Vancouver Olympics.
Sidney Crosby's second shootout attempt proved the winner in the fourth round as Canada barely escaped with a 3-2 victory before a delirious crowd at Hockey Canada Place.
Goaltender Jonas Hiller of the Ducks and Switzerland stopped 44 shots in regulation and overtime, many of them from the NHL's most prolific stars.
Four years ago Canada was stymied by Martin Gerber, who is injured and can't play in Vancouver. Hiller did an outstanding job in his place.
Hnat Domenichelli and Crosby were stopped in the first round of the shootout, and Romano Lemm and Jonathan Toews were stymied in the second round.
Martin Brodeur made a leg save on Roman Wick in the third round, and with the game at stake, Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks was stopped on a low shot by Hiller, his NHL teammate.
Crosby got to shoot again and lifted a shot over Hiller's shoulder. Brodeur then stopped Martin Pluss to preserve the victory.
Canada scored once in the first, after Dany Heatley took a pass from San Jose teammate Patrick Marleau and swept the puck past Hiller’s glove side at 9:21. Canada extended its lead to 2-0 just 35 seconds into the second period, after a point shot by Shea Weber hit Heatley in front of the net and fell at the feet of Marleau, who swatted the puck home.
Switzerland closed its gap to one goal at 8:59 of the second period on a well-placed slap shot by Ivo Ruthemann past the glove of Brodeur and tied it on a fortunate bounce. Defenseman Patrick von Gunten was trying to center the puck and got lucky when it caromed off Marleau’s skate and into the net.
Canada got a power play with 2:51 left in the third and sent out a parade of fearsome scorers: on its first unit were Sidney Crosby—back after getting a bloody nose from a high stick--Getzlaf and Corey Perry, with Weber and Scott Niedermayer on the points, and on the second unit were the Kings’ Drew Doughty with
San Jose’s Dan Boyle at the points and Heatley, Marleau and Joe Thornton up front. None of them could get the job done, despite the fans' frantic pleading.
More later at www.latimes.com/sports
--Helene Elliott in Vancouver, Canada
Photo: A scrum for the puck during the Canada-Switzerland game. Credit: Bruce Bennett, Getty Images.