Staal lifts Team Canada to 5th straight win
Scores winner 23 seconds into overtime against Czech Republic
Eric Staal and his Canadian teammates overcame more penalty trouble at the men's world hockey championship in RussiaSunday to extend its winning streak to five games.
Staal scored his second goal of the tournament 23 seconds into overtime to cap a come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Czech Republic in qualifying roundaction.
The Carolina Hurricanes' centre took a point shot off his skate, moved the puck to his stick and beat goaltender Marek Pinc with a shot along the ice.
"A goal's a goal in overtime and we'll take the points," said Staal, who has scored three times in five games. "It's pretty bad for the goalie. He just jumped in and hadn't played a sniff of the whole tournament."
Pinc was seeing his first action of this year's worlds, having replaced starter Roman Cechmanek at the start of OT.
The win was Canada's first against the Czechs at the world tourney since an 8-4 quarter-final triumph in 2003.
The Canadians, who improved to 4-11all-time againstthe Czech Republic at the worlds, conclude the qualifying round on Monday against the United States (12:15 p.m. ET).
"I think we've yet to tap our full potential and we'd like to see that against the U.S," said Canadian coach Andy Murray.
The Americans have just one loss in the tournament and have been the most consistent team in the pool the Canadians are playing in, according to Murray.
Awin is important because it sets up a quarter-final game against Switzerland, which has struggled at this year's tournament. If Canada loses to the U.S., it will face Finland in the quarters.
The Canadians must play more disciplined if they hope to knock off the Americans, Murray said.
"We've got so many young players," he said. "Some of the penalties that they call here are marginal, but they're penalties. We've got to be a lot smarter."
Jay McClement and captain Shane Doan, with his fourth goal in the last two games, also scored for the Canadians on Sunday, while goalie Dwayne Roloson made 30 saves.
Tomas Plekanec, Rostislav Olesz and Marek Zidlicky scored for the Czechs, who needed the regulation point to squeeze into the quarter-finals.
Canada continued its string of slow starts as Zidlicky scored with the man-advantage in the first period, the fifth consecutive time the Canadians have allowed the first goal.
"In the first period they had us under pressure, under siege," Murray said. "And he [Roloson]did a great job. "Our goaltending here is going to be key as we go along."
Canada got a break to draw even. With fans whistling in the seats at Mytischi Arena, Cechmanek and a few others appeared to think the play had been stopped. McClement wasn't one of them and wisely spun in the slot and fired the puck past the confused Czech goalie at 2:15 of the second period.
With Canada trailing 2-1 Staal drew the equalizer after his team had killed a penalty to Doan. After taking a hard pass in the slot, he avoided a poke check by Cechmanek, made a move and lifted a backhander into the net.
The Czech Republic quickly answered with its third power-play goal of the game.
Doan forced overtime when he wired a low shot through the legs of Cechmanek at 10:58 of the third period.
"You never want to give the Czechs a second life," Doan said. "We kind of did tonight."
Canadian defenceman Shea Weber returned from his three-game suspension for hitting Germany's Yannic Seidenberg with an elbow to the head.
Elsewhere Sunday, Slovakia reached the quarter-finals, defeating Belarus 4-3 on Pavol Demitra's goal with 39 seconds left in regulation.
In Moscow, Ilya Kovalchuk scored a goal and set up another to lead Russia over Switzerland 6-3.
Yuriy Navarenko scored the winning goal in the third period to lift Ukraine to a 3-2 victory over Norway in a regulation contest.
With files from the Canadian Press