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2010 Winter Olympics: Fired-up Canada crushes Russia

Team Canada celebrates one of its seven goals during a blowout win over Russia during the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Team Canada celebrates one of its seven goals during a blowout win over Russia during the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Luis Acosta, Afp/Getty Images

VANCOUVER — A dominating Canada ended 50 years of Olympic hockey frustration against Russia.

The Canadians got a goal and two assists from Dan Boyle during a take-charge first period to beat the world champions 7-3 Wednesday and surge into the Olympic semifinals.

A superpower showdown — one that may have been better suited for the gold-medal game than the quarterfinals — quickly became a super letdown.

The physical, focused Canadians took advantage of terrible goaltending by Evgeni Nabokov and superior depth and size to open leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in the first period and 6-1 early in the second period, and the unexpected rout was on.

The resurgent Canadians meet the Sweden-Slovakia winner in Friday's semifinals. If they advance, they might face the United States in a rematch of the 5-3 loss on Sunday.

That disappointment marked their first Olympic loss to the U.S. since 1960; the punishing win over Russia was their first since the same tournament in Squaw Valley and only the second in 11 Olympic games against the Russians or Soviets.

Long before it was over, fans began chanting, "We Want Sweden," just as they had asked for Russia the day before. After that, it was "We want gold."

On this day, Canada got all it wanted.

Corey Perry upstaged Russia's big-name, big-contract forwards with two goals, Shea Weber also scored and set the tone by upending Maxim Afinogenov with a board-rattling hit in the opening seconds and Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists. And Boyle frustrated Nabokov, his NHL teammate, by scoring a power-play goal and creating two others.

And that was only the start.

Almost as surprising as the score was how Canada pulled it off. Sidney Crosby went scoreless in a subordinate role, with less celebrated players and grit negating Russia's cast of stars and supposedly superior speed.

Nabokov, whose NHL San Jose Sharks are perennial playoff underachievers, allowed several soft goals early, one to Patrick Marleau, and the letdown was evident on a downcast Russian bench.

FINLAND 2, CZECH REPUBLIC 0: Niklas Hagman tipped home a power-play goal with 6:26 to play to break open a scoreless game, and Finland beat the Czech Republic to advance to a semifinal meeting with the top-seeded U.S. team.

Miikka Kiprusoff made 31 saves to win his scintillating duel with Tomas Vokoun, who made 29. Both goalies were flawless until Hagman got his stick on a slap shot by Janne Niskala, redirecting it just enough to miss Vokoun.

Valtteri Filppula scored an empty-net goal with 1:35 to play for the fourth-seeded Finns, the defending silver medalists, who will face the Americans on Friday.