Russia takes world hockey gold in overtime
Penalty to Nash opens the door for winning goal
Ilya Kovalchuk scored on the power play at 2:42 of overtime to give Russia a 5-4 victory over Canada on Sunday at the world men's hockey championship in Quebec City.
The goal came with Canada's Rick Nash in the box for shooting the puck out of the rink from his own zone.
Kovalchuk's marker capped a huge comeback for the Russians, who trailed Canada 4-2 going into the third period.
He got the puck just inside the blue-line and hammered one through traffic that beat goaltender Cam Ward and gave Russia its first world gold medal since 1993.
Canada, meanwhile, failed in its attempt to become the first host nation to win the championship since the Soviet Union's Big Red Machine won in Moscow in 1986.
"God was on our side a little more than them," said Kovalchuk, who scored twice on the day. "In overtime, they take that penalty — that's the new rules.
"I don't know if it's good or it's bad, but it worked for us."
Canadian captain Shane Doan was philisophical.
"Team Canada's won a ton of these, and you're going to lose once in a while," he said. "Unfortunately, it was tonight. That's the way it goes."
Luck and hustle
Russia's comeback started with a little luck and hustle near the nine-minute mark of the third.
As the Russians attacked, Jay Bouwmeester blocked a shot that bounced to his left, directly onto the stick of Alexei Tereshchenko who had beaten Derek Roy into the zone.
Tereshchenko fired it under Ward's catching glove and it was 4-3.
Then, inside of six minutes, a long, rink-wide pass found Kovalchuck at the Canadian blue-line.
He skated deep down the half-boards, stopped and, using Bouwmeester as a screen, rifled one past Ward to tie the game at 14:46.
Too much energy
The game opened at a lightning pace as the clubs worked off their nervous energy.
But it was the Russians who struck first on a goal that showed the toughness of modern players from that country.
Alex Ovechkin picked up the puck behind Canada's net and zipped a nifty pass out front just as he was hammered by an oncoming defender.
Alexander Semin was waiting out front for the disk and he hammered it past a surprised Ward to make it 1-0 just over a minute into the contest.
That got the hosts going and they began to dominate, helped by a power play.
Russia killed that, but a minute later Canada was cycling in the opposition end when the puck came back to Brent Burns.
Winding up for the shot, he glanced up and saw a defender sprawling to block it. So Burns pulled it back, took a stride to his left to find a lane and wound up again.
His shot went through a crowd and past Russian netminder Evgeni Nabokov to tie it 1-1.
Strong defence in the neutral zone paid off at the halfway mark of the opening period.
A turnover created by Eric Staal sent Chris Kunitz off the other way. He raced down the left side and into the Russian zone where at the top of the circle he put one over Nabokov's glove hand and it was 2-1 Canada.
On a later Russian power play, a misfire from the point wound up on Martin St. Louis' stick down low at the left of the net. He saw Burns cruising in from the other side and put the puck over and it was in for a 3-1 lead.
That was Burns's second of the period and third of the tournament.
Russia took 10 minutes in penalties that period.
Canada builds a lead
Canada was killing a carry-over penalty from the first frame when the Russians took advantage.
Konstantin Korneyev fired one from the point that missed the net by three feet on the right, but it bounced off the end boards and came straight out to the left circle where Alexander Semin, timing his shot perfectly, lasered the disk by Ward for 3-2.
Over the next several minutes, Ward was forced to make a terrific pad save on Alex Ovechkin, who had broken in behind a defender, and another from an Alexei Morozov backhand.
Canada's top line restored the two-goal cushion.
As Nash and Ryan Getzlaf worked the corners, Dany Heatley cruised into position in the left circle. Getlzaf found him there and a one-timer found the short side on Nabokov for 4-2.
That was Heatley's 12th in the tournament, breaking Eric Lindros' modern record for most by a Canadian at the worlds.
Heatley was named tournament MVP, while Burns was top defenceman and Nabokov top goalie.