Canada defeated Latvia 2-1 to move on to the semifinal versus the U.S. Here are five things we learned:
• This team still can't score. Stop me if this sounds familiar: the Canadian forwards struggled to beat the opposing netminder, and in the end, the winning goal came from the blue line. One of Shea Weber and Drew Doughty has scored in every game so far, and the duo combined for the go-ahead goal in this one as well, with Doughty setting up Weber for a one-timer. It's nice to know these two are going, but the Americans have actual forwards scoring goals, and one assumes Canada is going to need that too if they hope to earn a berth in the gold medal game.
• Shea Weber's slapshot remains one of Canada's national treasures. Last Olympics, Weber put one through the net. He hasn't done that this Olympics, but he's put a few in it, scoring in 3 of 4, and he's nearly halved a few people as well. Patrice Bergeron took one to the chest versus Finland; Oskars Bartulis took one to the knee in this game. If Weber didn't do anything else, it would be worth having him around for his shot alone. Fortunately, he does a lot else.
• Still not enough Crosby. Enough about the defenders, though. The scorers need to score, and that starts with Canada's captain. Crosby had his chances, and he generated a few more, setting up Chris Kunitz for an easy one. Unfortunately, Kunitz hit the crossbar, and Crosby finished with no points once again. Worse, he had just one more shot than Roberto Luongo. Can Canada survive another quiet game from Sid? Probably not. Fortunately, Crosby's known for scoring on Team USA, although it's a shame Mike Babcock can't deploy him with the two that helped him score the game-winner in Vancouver: Jarome Iginla and referee Bill McCreary.
• Kristers Gudlevskis is awesome. The Latvian netminder put in a performance for the ages, stopping 55 shots and very nearly stealing this one for Latvia. Make no mistake. Canada dominated this game from beginning to end, but Gudlevskis stood tall reminding the canucks that you have to outplay six guys, not just five. He returns to the AHL's Syracuse Crunch a Latvian hero.
• Canada is still pretty gosh darn formidable. Make no mistake, though. While the team has struggled to light the lamp, they've spent the majority of every one of their games in the offensive zone, and it's taken star-making performances by the opposition's netminders to keep things close. The United States will probably be able to get the puck out of their end with a little more regularity, but Jonathan Quick is still going to have to be incredibly sharp.
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