Eric Staal scored four goals and added an assist on Saturday afternoon in Halifax as Canada trounced Germany 10-1 at the IIHF world hockey championships.
Staal had entered the game at Halifax Metro Centre with two assists in four games. The Carolina Hurricanes centre was the benefactor of much hard work from linemate Martin St. Louis, who finished with five assists.
"I feel like Eric was carrying too much stress with him," said Canadian coach Ken Hitchcock. "He just needed to continue to work and play. He did that today and he had a lot of success.
"I think sometimes the burden of expectations, when you carry it and you don't carry it the right way, it can really be heavy."
Jason Spezza, Dany Heatley, Patrick Sharp, Derek Roy, Jamal Mayers and Mike Green also scored for Canada.
Staal's Carolina teammate Cam Ward had an easy day in net, making 17 saves.
Canada (5-0) will play Finland on Monday in Halifax. The unbeaten Finns (4-0) will play Sunday against the United States (3-1).
While Germany (1-4) has NHL forwards Marco Sturm and Marcel Goc on their squad, they have had difficulty in their own end. The Germans allowed five goals to Finland and six to the U.S.
"Our team was outmatched in just about every aspect of the game," said German coach Uwe Krupp. "I think it was a sobering experience for everybody. Thank God you don't have too many days like this."
Spezza opened the scoring just over five minutes into the game, streaking down the right side and beating German goalie Dimitrij Kotschnew between the pads.
With seven minutes left in the first it was still a one-goal game, but the floodgates soon opened. Heatley banged his own rebound underneath the German goalie's pads and Staal scored on a second-attempt backhander.
The offensive spurt helped the forwards regain confidence after a tight win over Norway.
"You got to have your players play their best," said St. Louis. "If we can get all our guys with confidence and feeling good about themselves, I like our chances."
Canada needed a late goal to edge Norway 2-1 in their last outing, but got several good bounces on Saturday.
Sharp's passing attempt went off a German defender and into the net for a 4-0 score to end the first, with Kotschnew giving way to Robert Muller.
After Staal took a St. Louis pass in the slot for his hat trick on Canada's sixth, his one-handed swat on a rebound was good for an 8-0 lead.
Muller then cleared the puck right on to the stick of Mayers for an easy short-handed ninth goal.
Germany finally broke the shutout midway through the third, with Frank Hordler getting credit for a puck that went off his skate and past Ward.
Ovechkin wins it for Russia
In other tournament action on Saturday, a trio of Washington Capitals helped Russia to a comeback win over Sweden.
Alexander Ovechkin scored with six seconds left in the third period to lead the Russians to a 3-2 victory at the game at Le Colisée in Quebec City.
Russia trailed 2-1 going into the third period, but Sergei Fedorov scored at 4:57 to tie the game.
With overtime looming, a two-on-one break saw Alexander Semin feed Ovechkin for a shot that a sprawled Henrik Lundqvist got a piece of, only to see the puck jump into the air and land behind him in the net.
Mattias Weinhandl and Tony Martensson scored for Sweden, while Semin got one in the second period for Russia. Goalies Lundqvist and Evgeni Nabokov shone as Russia outshot Sweden 42-30.
A nasty first period saw three players ejected and 87 minutes in penalties called. Only 10:02 into the game, Swedish defenceman Douglas Murray was tossed for hitting Alexei Morozov from behind, sparking a fight between defenceman Anton Stralman and Russian star Ilya Kovalchuk that saw both ejected.
Morozov left the game and did not return.
Radim Vrbata and Ales Kotalik scored in the shootout as the Czech Republic defeated Belarus 3-2.
Tomas Rolinek and Kotalik scored in regulation time for the Czechs, who out shot their opponents 43-18, while Yaroslav Chupris and Andrei Kostisyn tallied for Belarus.
Dmitri Meleshko was the only Belarus player to score in the shootout.
Lubomir Visnovsky scored a shootout goal as Slovakia defeated Slovenia for the second consecutive night, this time by a 4-3 score. With the win Slovakia avoided being relegated to the second tier of countries ahead of the 2010 Olympics.
The quarter-final round of the tournament will begin on Wednesday.