Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith stood tall early on and made 22 saves to led Canada to a 6-3 victory over the host Czech Republic Monday in the preliminary round of the World Hockey Championship in Prague.
Edmonton Oilers teammates Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle along with Los Angeles Kings forward Tyler Toffoli had a goal and assist a piece as Canada’s offence continued it’s hot start to the tournament. Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby and Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin chipped in with the other goals.
Canada scored a couple goals in the first 15 minutes of the game after sustaining five minutes of hard pressure from the Czech’s before the deficit was cut in half just 21 seconds later.
The hosts scored again to tie things again, before Couturier put Canada ahead with 2:20 left in the second period make it a 3-2 lead.
Canada added a fourth early in the third period through a Seguin shot that beat Czech goalie Ondrej Pavelec low. Crosby stretched Canada’s lead to three after scoring on a man-advantage at the half way point of the period.
Vladimir Sobotka got one back for the Czechs with 2:24 remaining in the game, before Toffoli scored into an empty net with 1:29 left to halt any possible comeback.
Canada (3-0-0-0) will be happy with the result against their toughest opponent yet. They play Sweden Wednesday, while the Czech Republic (1-0-1-1) has a couple days off before facing off against France on Thursday.