Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley scored twice and heavily favored Canada overcame some early nervousness and a scoreless first period to roll over Norway, 8-0, in its highly anticipated Olympic hockey opener last night at Canada Hockey Place.
The Canadians are so deep and balanced that 15 players figured in their first six goals. Sidney Crosby had three assists in his Olympic debut as Canada showed off the offensive strength it lacked in Turin four years ago, when it was shut out in three of its final four games while finishing seventh.
After Iginla scored on a power play 2:30 into the second period, Canada kept the goals coming - in part because goal differential figures in determining the quarterfinal-round seeding. Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Richards, Rick Nash, and Corey Perry also scored in a game that, by the end, was reminiscent of Canada’s 10-0 win over Norway in 1992.
Norway goalie Pal Grotnes, a carpenter by trade, was strong early, turning aside all 14 shots in the first period, but he was soon swarmed by a virtual NHL All-Star team.
Canada coach Mike Babcock must have loved all that the balance with 12 players getting a point on the first four goals, and every player except Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Brenden Morrow getting a goal or an assist. Iginla appeared to score three times - he clearly tipped Nash’s shot late in the third - but it was given to Nash.
It could get a little tougher for Canadians when they play Switzerland tomorrow - the Swiss upset them, 2-0, in 2006 - but Canada’s first real test is expected Sunday against the United States, which beat Switzerland, 3-1, yesterday.
Canada goalie Roberto Luongo, playing in his NHL home arena, made 15 saves while rarely being tested as Canada outshot Norway, 42-15. Patrick Thoresen might have had the best chance, but couldn’t put a rebound in a wide-open net early in the third period. Norway also couldn’t score during a two-man advantage during the second period.
Twin sisters Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux also were among 10 goal-scorers for the Americans, who followed up their 12-1 opening win over China with another exhibition of their skill and depth over two dominant periods before cooling it down in the third.
Jessie Vetter made seven saves for the Americans, who led, 12-0, after two periods. They took just two shots in the third.
Finland 2, China 1 - Venla Hovi scored late in the second period and Finland, which outshot China, 43-5, but trailed after 28 minutes, survived a scare.