'It's going to be intense'

CanWest News Service
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Canada's 8-2 win over Germany sets up marquee matchup against Russia tonight

So long, Germany. Hellooooo, Russia. After Canada dismissed the Germans 8-2 in Tuesday's medal round qualifier, thoughts quickly turned to Canada's quarter-final opponent, the classic hockey rivals from Russia.

"We want Rus-sia!!!" fans chanted in the final minutes.

You've got them, people. And it's a quick turnaround for Canada's toughest test of the tournament - a life or death game tonight against the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. For Sidney Crosby, it's a chance to renew the great mano-a-mano NHL rivalry with Ovie, but on an Olympic stage.

Team Canada's Joe Thornton (right), Drew Doughty and Dany Heatley celebrate Thornton's first-period goal against Germany during their Olympic men's hockey qualification round game Tuesday in Vancouver. Canada won 8-2 and will face Russia in a quarter-fina

Vancouver -

So long, Germany. Hellooooo, Russia. After Canada dismissed the Germans 8-2 in Tuesday's medal round qualifier, thoughts quickly turned to Canada's quarter-final opponent, the classic hockey rivals from Russia.



"We want Rus-sia!!!" fans chanted in the final minutes.



You've got them, people. And it's a quick turnaround for Canada's toughest test of the tournament - a life or death game tonight against the likes of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk. For Sidney Crosby, it's a chance to renew the great mano-a-mano NHL rivalry with Ovie, but on an Olympic stage.



"It's going to be intense," Crosby said, with a big grin.



"There will be no secrets," said Canadian head coach Mike Babcock. "He (Ovechkin) will be excited. Sid will be excited. As a coach, this is what it's all about. You're just thankful to have this game and be involved in it."



If these are the two best teams here, and many believe so, it's a shame this isn't for the gold medal, a shame one will be knocked out Wednesday night. But that's the Olympic tournament. Better early than not meeting at all.



"It's going to be crazy," Russian forward Sergei Fedorov said after Tuesday's practice. "They are under pressure . . . playing in Canada. It's not easy, but they have experienced guys and they've been through a lot. They are a very, very strong team."



Back at you, Sergei.



While the Russians have not played their best to this point of the tournament, dropping an overtime game to Slovakia, they rebounded to beat the Czech Republic 4-2 on Super Sunday, providing the Russians a bye to the quarter-finals.



Aside from the obvious goal of advancing, Canada would cherish retribution. The Canadians lost the past two world championships to Russia, and it was the Russians who knocked Canada out of the 2006 Olympic tournament with a 2-0 victory in the quarter-finals. Canada last beat Russia at the 2005 worlds (4-3) and 2004 World Cup (3-1).



Before the pressure-cooker against Russia, the Canadians took some frustrations out on the poor Germans. Fans savoured the rout, and even had the bonus of a penalty shot. (Alas, Crosby missed on the backhand, after shooting in lieu of Rick Nash. What, he's chopped liver?).



Nash was gracious about not getting to shoot.



"Those are international rules," he said. "If I was the coach, I would have picked Sidney Crosby, too."



Asked if he gave the Kid a hard time for missing, Nash quipped: "No, but I will."



Fans may or may not have seen Shea Weber's shot rip through the net. It took a video review to award the goal, giving Canada a 2-0 lead early in the second period. Maybe, finally, they saw the emergence of a top line for Canada, as Crosby, Jarome Iginla and Eric Staal did most of the damage. Staal's crease pass tip-in by Crosby would look against Russia.



Crosby's ice time was limited to 14:43 to save him for Russia.



Tuesday's game was stress-free, once the Canadians got going. We won't say the ice was tilted, exactly, but it was all snowy at one end and clean at the other - the Canadian end. The Germans didn't register a shot until the latter part of the first period - outshot 14-4 over 20 minutes, and none of the four troubled Canada's new goaltending saviour, Roberto Luongo. Final shots were 39-23.

Organizations: NHL

Geographic location: Canada, Russia, Germany Vancouver Slovakia Czech Republic

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