Heading into today's game Canada sat three points behind Finland simply based on games played. Averaging 6 goals per game for and only 0.8 against, Canada has been a very well rounded team this tournament with their most recent victory being a 5-0 triumph over Slovakia. France entered today's game sitting at 1-1-0-3 (W-OTW-OTL-L) with their last game being a 3-1 loss to Finland.
The French roster is highlighted by former Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Cristobal Huet, and current Philadelphia Flyer Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Canada and France have had a close history at this tournament over the last couple years with Canada squeaking out a 4-3 win in 2015, and France beating Canada 3-2 in a shootout back in 2014.
Canada would strike eight minutes into the game on the powerplay with Mark Stone (Ottawa Senators) opening the scoring with a wrist shot from the slot over Huet's glove side. Assists would go to Edmonton Oiler teammates Connor McDavid and Taylor Hall. No other goals would be scored in the period as Canada led 1-0 on the scoreboard and 10-4 on the shot clock after the 1st.
The second period would start out rather interestingly with France's Charles Bertrand being awarded a penalty shot after being tripped by Ryan Ellis (Nashville Predators). Pickard would deny Bertrand to preserve Canada's 1-0 lead. Both teams would alternate powerplays for a chunk of the period before Canada would make it 2-0 just as a French penalty expired. Ryan Ellis' point shot would bounce around in front with Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks) getting a good whack at it before Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) would put it in. Canada led 2-0 after the second despite outshooting France 26-8.
Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets) would extend Canada's lead to 3-0 early in the third, taking advantage of a juicy rebound off Huet. Mark Stone would register his second point of the game with an assist on the goal. Canada would make it 4-0 with just over five minutes left as Corey Perry would score after a nifty bit of stickhandling before having a give-and-go play with Ryan O'Reilly (Buffalo Sabres). Canada would thoroughly dominate the period outshooting France 20-5 in just the third alone. Canada would win 4-0 with the final shots being 46-13 for Canada and really, a flattering score for the French.
Canada stays undefeated in the tournament and again retakes top spot from Finland based on goal differential. Canada and Finland square off tomorrow (11:15am MST) in the final day of the round robin with the top spot in Group B on the line.
The game will be very important to both sides as the winner will likely get a much easier quarterfinal matchup. While the winner will get to face either Switzerland or Denmark, the loser will have to play either Sweden or Russia.
Make sure you try to watch that game, but if you can't check out our post game recap as well as our game preview. Go Canada Go!