Canada wins World Cup group, draws either Russians or kids

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 21: Jonathan Toews #16 of Team Canada fires a slapshot to score a second period goal on Team Europe during the World Cup of Hockey 2016 at Air Canada Centre on September 21, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/World Cup of Hockey via Getty Images)
Jonathan Toews #16 of Team Canada fires a slapshot on Team Europe. (Getty Images)

TORONTO – For Team Canada, it’ll either be the Russians or the Kids in the semifinals.

Canada played another unflappable game in the World Cup of Hockey, handing Team Europe its first loss and winning Group A on Wednesday night with a 4-2 victory. Jonathan Toews had two goals and an assist and Sidney Crosby scored his second of the tournament. Corey Crawford, getting the start in goal after Carey Price defeated Team USA on Tuesday, made 19 saves.

Team Europe will face Team Sweden, who won Group B despite losing in overtime to North America earlier on Wednesday.

Crosby got Canada on the board first, using the boards.

Jay Bouwmeester fired a shot that bounced off the end boards as Crosby sped deep into the Europe zone. He collected the puck and in one sweeping motion tucked it around the net and behind goalie Jaroslav Halak.

It was the second time in two days the Canadians used a friendly bounce to their advantage, as a Matt Duchene netted a goal after a carom off the end boards in Canada’s 4-2 win over Team USA.

Halak kept Europe in the game early with a pair of incredible stops on Steven Stamkos and Brad Marchand, but it was a misplay by the New York Islanders goalie that led to Canada’s second goal.

Halak played the puck aggressively along the boards but right to Duchene, who sent it to a wide-open Toews in front for his second of the tournament.

It was 1-1 in the second period when Marian Hossa of Team Europe made things interesting. He skated down the left wing, all the way to the goal line, before sending a quick shot at Crawford. Maybe Hossa saw something he could exploit during their Chicago Blackhawks’ practices, because the Slovak winger beat his NHL teammate at 4:38 to cut the lead to 2-1.

While Hossa and Crawford had their moment, another Blackhawk had his 10:10 after Team Europe’s goal: Toews, who scored his second of the game on a feed from Logan Couture for the 3-1 lead. Couture then scored a 4-on-4 goal to make it 4-1 with roughly two and a half minutes left.

With that, Canada cruised to a 3-0-0 record in its group. They outscored their opponents, 14-3.

The identity of their semifinals opponent won’t be known until Thursday afternoon. If Russia beats Finland in any fashion, it’s Canada vs. Russia; if Finland beats Russia in any fashion, then the under-23 players of Team North America face Canada.

Yes, that would mean Connor McDavid against Team Canada.

“It’s out of our control. The Russians are a very good team. The Fins will be very proud. That’s the one thing I know about the Fins is they’re a proud, proud group. They’ll show up and play,” said North America coach Todd McLellan. “And we’ll end up watching every minute of it.”

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.