Patrice Bergeron notched a goal and three assists and Ryan Smyth ad John Tavares tallied two goals apiece to pave the way towards Team Canada’s 7-2 victory over HC Davos in the Spengler Cup Final in Switzerland. After losing 2-1 to Adler Manheim on opening game of the tournament, Canada cruised through the rest of the competition to claim its 12th Spengler Cup title. Canada defeated HC Davos during the second game of the tournament 5-0 and then crushed Fribourg Gottéron 5-1in its semi-final match-up before once again crushing the host city in the title game.
HC Davos entered the game just twelve hours after its emotional 5-4 victory over HC Vitkovice in the late semi-final match on Sunday. The defending Spengler Cup champions were led to victory in that game when Patrick Kane scored a go-ahead goal with just 22.9 seconds left in regulation. After getting the first day off in the tournament, Davos played games on five straight days and lacked the energy to keep up with the relatively well-rested Canadians.
Bergeron opened the scoring for Canada just fourty-six seconds into the game after some early pressure in the Davos end of the rink. Sam Gagner rifled a shot towards Davos goaltender Leonardo Genoni and Bergeron squeezed the rebound beneath Genoni’s pads towards the far corner of the net as he sprawled to the ice on the play. Canada continued to press for goals immediately after Bergeron’s early tally and nearly scored on the shift immediately following Bergeron’s goal.
Shortly after Bergeron’s goal Davos forward Damien Brunner was charged with boarding to put Canada on the power play. Bergeron easily won the ensuing face-off and shot the puck between his legs to defenseman Jason Demers. Demers then passed the puck to Derrick Wasler. Wasler then drilled the puck behind Genoni a mere five seconds after Brunner left the ice. Canada now led 2-0 just 3:12 into the game.
Davos finally caught a break when Josh Holden was sent off the ice for tripping at 7:19 but Canada turned this setback into another opportunity to add to its score. While killing the Canadian penalty, Bergeron and captain Ryan Smyth applied a heavy forecheck in the Davos zone. Cycling behind the Davos net, Bergeron sent a nifty pass to Smyth in front of the goal. After spinning around to put the puck on his forehand, Smyth flipped the puck into the top of the net from a sharp angle. His shorthanded tally came with just eight seconds left in the Canadian penalty.
Dario Bürgler replied for Davos late in the period when Joe Thornton sent a breakout pass Bürgler’s way. Bürgler dashed into the Canadian zone and rifled a hard shot past Canadian netminder Devan Dubnyk at 17:19 of the period. Going into the second period, Canada maintained a 3-1 lead.
Early in the second period, Canada continued to press and Ryan Smyth took a wide-open pass from Bergeron after Micki Dupont sent the puck past Davos defence straight to the tape of Bergeron’s stick and sent the two forwards off on a 2-on-1. The play put Canada up 4-1 just 1:34 into the period and the goal zapped the life out of the Davos bench. Some measure of fortitude still existed for Davos but Canada’s defence stifled every scoring opportunity the hosts generated quickly. Most of the time, Davos was unable to generate anything at all against Canada and the team’s victory never appeared in doubt.
At the 2:35 mark, Joe Thornton and Josh Holden were sent off with coincidental minors after some pushing and shoving behind the Davos net. First Thornton elbowed Holden in the back of the head and then Holden responded by offering his stick as Thornton’s lunch. Holden’s gritty play inspired the Canadian team with his energy and his game kept Canada focused in a game where its attention could easily have faltered.
This fact was evident later in the period Holden and Beat Forster collided near the Canadian bench. Holden charged towards Forster to deliver a thunderous body check. A displeased Forster shoved Holden off of his skates and pushed his face into the ice. For his effort to give Holden a cold bath on the ice, Forster was given a double minor. Davos complained about the call and looked a bit put out that Holden wasn’t also sent to the penalty box. What was even worse for Davos was that the team was just starting to generate a few opportunities in the Canadian zone and still sought to even the score.
The double minor nullified any Davos momentum and Canada proved it when John Tavares scored for Canada after receiving a nice pass from Walser almost immediately after Forster went to the penalty box. Canada now held a 5-1 lead just halfway through the game. In an effort to energize the team, Davos head coach Arnos del Curto replaced Genoni with Rito Beera, the goaltender who played in Sunday’s semi-final against the Steel. Beera appeared more comfortable in net against Canada and Canada failed to score another goal in the period.
Nevertheless, Beera was not a miracle worker. On the first play of the third period Jason Spezza sent with a screened wrist shot from the top of the Davos blue line between Beera’s legs to put Canada up 6-1. Then John Tavares scored a breakaway goal midway through the period that put Canada up 7-1 over Davos. The result was now nothing more than a formality. The final goal of the night occurred when Raphael Diaz took a pass from Patrick Kane with 2:26 left in the game to make the score 7-2 for Canada.
The victory gave Canada its first Spengler Cup title since 2007. Every team in Switzerland benefited from the NHL lockout but the Canadian benefited most of all. TSN commentators gushed enthusiastically that the 2012 Spengler Cup Champions were the best Spengler Cup team ever iced in 86 years of Spengler Cup play. Canada has a chance to defend its title and add a 13th Spengler Cup Championship to its total from December 26th- December 31st, 2013.