Staal line puts it in gear
Eric Staal and Canada’s second line have taken a beating over the pastweek at the world hockey championship, but Saturday night, it laid abeating of its own on Germany.
Eric Staal and Canada’s second line have taken a beating over the past week at the world hockey championship, but Saturday night, it laid a beating of its own on Germany.
The oft-criticized unit of Staal, Martin St. Louis and Derek Roy shook off a slump and are the toast of the town after a five-goal, seven-assist outing as Canada thrashed Germany 10-1 before a near-sellout of 9,182 at the Metro Centre.
Staal had four goals and an assist — nearly tying Eric Lindros’s single-game Canadian record for goals and points — and the line’s dominating 12-point showing was four more points than it recorded through the first four games combined.
“It was one of those nights that only happens once in a while,” Staal said afterward. “It’s a good win.”
The game was an ugly one from the opening faceoff. Jason Spezza opened the scoring at 5:14 on a 2-on-1 and Germany didn’t record a shot in the opening 15 minutes. It was 4-0 after 20 minutes and 9-0 after 40 as Germany offered little resistance.
When Jamal Mayers scored Canada’s ninth goal with 1:48 to go in the second, Germany only had eight shots.
“When you’re scoring it’s tough to see because if you were in their position, it’s no fun,” Staal said. “But we had to keep playing our game. We’ve got to improve in this tournament and we made sure we focused on that and didn’t worry about them.”
The Staal line took a backseat to the potent top unit of Dany Heatley, Rick Nash and Ryan Getzlaf through the first four games of the tournament. Spezza originally started on the line before being replaced by Roy on Thursday.
St. Louis had four assists and Roy added a goal and an assist.
“Providing some offence is something our line is happy to do,” said St. Louis, a former Hart Trophy winner. “We’re feeling good about ourselves. Things went our way tonight and we just went with it. We’ll carry that into next game.”
Lindros has the single-game record with five goals, and he recorded six points twice. All three members of the line said they weren’t aware Staal was approaching the record.
“We were just trying to get Staal as many goals as possible,” Roy said. “We said he was on pace for six so we tried to feed him as much as we could He had the hot stick.”
Dany Heatley, Patrick Sharp and Mike Green scored Canada's other goals, and Cam Ward needed to make just 17 saves. German goalies Dmitrij Kotschnew and Robert Mueller struggled, facing 42 Canadian shots.
The Germans finally managed a goal in the third period when Frank Hordler capitalized on a poorly-timed Mike Green pinch to streak in alone and break Ward’s shutout bid.
“I think everyone is a little embarrassed right now, especially playing Canada on national TV,” said Marco Sturm, a Boston Bruins forward and Germany’s most prominent player.
“To play that way, it’s very disappointing.”
Added Ottawa Senators defenceman Christoph Schubert: “Everybody wanted to show the whole world they were capable of playing against them. I don’t know what it was. Everything went wrong. We weren’t mentally ready.”
Canada is 4-0, easily atop Group F, and faces Finland on Monday at 4:30 p.m., with first place possibly on the line. It’s Canada’s final game before Wednesday’s quarter-finals.