Canada rides 4 power-play goals to victory
Tavares, Giordano score twice in 6-1 waxing of Latvia at hockey worlds
Even Mark Messier, the former NHL great and six-time Stanley Cup champion, was in awe at the end result.
No, not because Bryan Adams's 1980s hit, Summer of '69, blared inside SAP Arena following each of the seven goals scored by Canada and Latvia at the world hockey championship in Mannheim, Germany, on Monday.
The general manager of Team Canada was clearly impressed with Corey Perry's setup of John Tavares's second goal of the game — and the Canadians' third of four goals on the power play — in an eventual 6-1 triumph.
The television cameras spotted Messier with his mouth wide open after Perry skated out from the corner, avoided a check from a Latvian defender and backhanded a pass through the crease past another opponent to Tavares, who had an open net to extend the Canadian lead to 4-0.
Giordano nets a pair
Mark Giordano also scored two goals, with Steven Stamkos and Steve Downie adding singles for Canada, which improved its record to 2-0. Perry collected three assists.
The Canadians meet Switzerland in their final preliminary-round game at 2:15 p.m. ET. Wednesday.
Canada and the Swiss are tied with four points, but the Canadians stand atop the Group B standings by virtue of goal differential.
Tavares and Stamkos chased Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis from the net after one period. Tavares scored his first goal of the tournament just 1:59 after the opening faceoff, roofing a nice Perry pass over goalie Edgars Masalskis from a tough angle.
"[Tavares] was real dangerous with the puck, not only goal-scoring but making plays," said Canadian head coach Craig MacTavish. "We've got a mobile defence that can really move the puck. They were doing lots of that and it made it difficult for the Latvians to apply a lot of pressure."
Martins Raitums didn't fare much better in the Latvian net, while Canada's Chris Mason turned aside all 12 shots directed his way before Chad Johnson took over to start the third.
It was the first national team appearance for Johnson, who played five games with the New York Rangers this season. He was beaten by Georgijs Pujacs at 10:25 to lose Canada's shutout bid, but came off the ice beaming.
"It was exciting," Johnson said. "The biggest honour is to represent your country, and it's been a dream of mine to wear the Canada jersey. To actually get in a game is pretty special."
The floodgates opened during the second period as Canada scored twice with the man advantage. Giordano one-timed a pass from Ray Whitney at 5:30, and Tavares scored from in close at 6:58. Giordano went five-hole on Raitums at 19:06 for an even-strength marker.
Downie also scored at even strength to give Canada a commanding 6-0 lead that wasn't enough to silence the impressive group of Latvian fans who made the trip to Germany. They banged their drums and sang until the final buzzer.
Latvia, now 0-2, could fall to the relegation round with a loss to Italy in its final preliminary contest.
Injury sidelines Smyth
Canadian captain Ryan Smyth was forced to sit Monday's game and has been knocked out of the tournament with an ankle injury. Smyth was favouring his left ankle during Sunday's practice and missed the morning skate on Monday.
The absence forced MacTavish to work with a short bench that included just 11 forwards. Tournament rules stipulate that another skater can't be added until the qualification round. Junior forward Jordan Eberle, the Edmonton Oilers' top prospect, is here as an alternate
Elsewhere at the worlds, Denmark shocked the United States 2-1 Monday, while Switzerland reached the second round with a 3-0 victory over Italy and Finland beat Germany 1-0 in Group D.
With files from The Canadian Press