TORONTO (CBSNewYork / AP) – Brad Marchand and Steven Stamkos scored in the first period and Canada cruised to a 3-1 win over the European team in Game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey final Tuesday night .
Game 2 in the best-of-three series is Thursday night.
Patrice Bergeron’s goal midway through the third period created a two-goal cushion.
Carey Price finished with 32 saves for the Canadiens, who have won two consecutive Olympic gold medals and 15 best-on-best hockey consecutive games since losing to the US at the 2010 Vancouver Games.
Tomas Tatar Slovakia scored his third goal in two games to 7 minutes in the second period to give Europe a.
Jaroslav Halak, who is also of Slovakia, stopped 35 shots for the unique team of eight European countries outside the traditional powers of the continent.
Canadians were playing at home, but do not seem to have much of an emotional boost in the arena of the Toronto Maple Leafs, where there were many empty seats and suites.
The Association of NHL players combined to revive the event, which has not occurred since 2004, with a twist. They created Team Europe and North America Hockey Jersey team, a team composed of players 23 years and under in the United States and Canada.
The format created a field of eight very competitive team, but as was said earlier in the day Canada coach Mike Babcock, “The World Cup is great. It is not the Olympics. It should not be confused” .
There was no confusion about who had more talent on the ice Tuesday night, but Europe has made a good start and put pressure on a team of stars who was behind only twice in five games and a little over a minute each time against the United States and Russia.
Price had to make three stops and face a power play in the first 21 seconds of the game.
Shortly after killing the penalty, Bergeron brought the puck the middle of the ice, faded right and passed through the crease to set up the fourth goal of Merchant 2:33 tournament in the game. Teammates Boston Bruins played on a line with the Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby and the trio rank among the top three in the World Cup in scoring.
Another Bruin Zdeno Chara was careless with the puck later in the opening period and it was expensive. Ryan Getzlaf snatched the puck from Chara near center ice along the boards and faked a shot into the top of the left circle, leading to a tap-in goal for Stamkos on the right side of the net.
Crosby second assist of the night and the ninth World Cup top his point helped Canada to a 3-1 lead.
He shot the puck on the left side of the net, came to carom and turned around to set up Bergeron in net.
Canadians will relax with the lead, attacking on offense and defensive withdrawal on defense to prevent Europe to have the hope of returning, even when he pulled Halak late in the game.
Team Europe was without one of its key players, Marian Gaborik, who suffered a foot injury during a semi-final victory against Sweden that keep it out of the alignment of the Los Angeles Kings for eight weeks . Gaborik was replaced in the lineup by Mikkel Boedker, the only skater on the ice first appeared in the two-week tournament.
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