Canada cruises, gets Russia

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia --- Now it's Canada vs. Russia in the Olympic hockey game that was widely anticipated. Only not now.

Canada's Duncan Keith (left) and Sidney Crosby (center) congratulate Jarome Iginla (right) after he scored during an 8-2 qualification round victory over Germany.   Matt Slocum/AP Photo
Matt Slocum/AP Photo
Canada's Duncan Keith (left) and Sidney Crosby (center) congratulate Jarome Iginla (right) after he scored during an 8-2 qualification round victory over Germany.

Jarome Iginla scored two goals as a revived Canadian hockey team beat Germany 8-2, setting up a superpower showdown against Russia in the quarterfinals today -- four days sooner than predicted for a game that seems better suited for the finals.

Shea Weber had a goal that left scorch marks in the net, leading to a three-goal second period in a qualification game that Canada didn't expect to be playing. Russia had two days off after winning its group and will be better rested than Canada.

Canada changed goaltenders from Martin Brodeur to Roberto Luongo after being exiled to a qualification game by its surprise 5-3 loss to the U.S. The switch hardly mattered, as offense-thin Germany had few good scoring chances until the game got out of hand.

Iginla scored two goals in slightly more than five minutes to make it 4-0 as Canada used its scoring depth and talent to take control against Germany, which was held to five goals while losing all four games in Vancouver.

Sidney Crosby also scored, Eric Staal had three assists and Joe Thornton -- nicknamed "No Show Joe" for disappearing in Canada's first three games -- scored in the first period. The game, as expected, was little more than a warmup for the favored Canadians.

By late in the third period, fans in Canada Hockey Place began chanting, "We Want Russia, We Want Russia."

Told Canadian fans were hopeful of a gold-medal matchup between the two, rather than one that will leave the survivor with two more games to win before it can claim the gold, Russian general manager Vladislav Tretiak said, "Me, too."

It's a game that's more than Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin, Russia's speed vs. Canada's vast depth and teammates vs. teammates. Crosby and Evgeni Malkin won the Stanley Cup together last season in Pittsburgh.

This has been hockey's biggest rivalry since the Canadians won the famed 1972 Summit Series in Moscow, a Cold War-era victory considered Canada's greatest in the sport. And Canada beat the Soviets in the 1987 Canada Cup on a Wayne Gretzky pass to Mario Lemieux.

The tension lessened somewhat when Soviet players began migrating to the NHL, yet players remain fiercely loyal to their countries. Ovechkin, the NHL's most dynamic offensive talent, has threatened to leave the Capitals to play in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, if NHL players don't take part. The two-time NHL MVP also brags that Russia has the best of everything -- especially, he said, the best hockey players.

SWITZERLAND 3, BELARUS 2 (SO)

Switzerland won a tighter-than-expected game against Belarus, a victory that sends the Swiss into the quarterfinals against the United States.

Jonas Hiller stopped Sergei Kostitsyn in the third round of the shootout for Switzerland. Hiller, of the Anaheim Ducks, made the winning save after the puck slid off the stick of the Montreal Canadiens forward.

Thomas Deruns and Romano Lemm scored shootout goals for Switzerland, which will take on the top-seeded Americans today.

Andrei Mezin made 40 saves before the shootout but couldn't complete the upset. Dmitri Meleshko scored Belarus' only goal in the tiebreaker.


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