Canada-Norway Live: Canadians Struggle Early But Hold On For Win In Olympic Opener

canadaFinal, Canada 3-1: The Norwegians can’t find a way to beat Carey Price in the final seconds, and Canada will leave its 2014 Olympic opener victorious.

Canada did not play its best game by any stretch, but goals by Shea Weber, Jamie Benn and Drew Doughty proved to be enough to put away a pesky Norway team.

Patrice Bergeron was one of the best players on the ice for Canada, finishing with two assists, three shots on goal and a plus-2 rating.

Both teams will be back in action Friday at noon, with Canada facing off against Austria and Norway taking on Tuukka Rask and Team Finland.

Third period, 18:21, Canada 3-1: Patrice Bergeron gets called for interference following a face-off, and Norway calls a timeout to draw up one final push.

Third period, 14:07, Canada 3-1: Both teams are back to full strength.

Third period, 12:07, Canada 3-1: Chris Kunitz heads to the box for a hit from behind in the corner, but Alexander Bonsaksen, who wrestled Kunitz to the ice in retaliation, joins him.

Canada will remain on the man-advantage.

Third period, 11:01, Canada 3-1: Kristian Forsberg is whistled for interference, and Canada will go on the power play.

Third period, 8:03, Canada 3-1: Matched up 1-on-1 with Haugen, Alex Pietrangelo tries to sneak one inside the right post. The D-man waits just a bit too long, though, and the goalie is able to rob him with a swiping glove save.

The Canadians have again dominated play since Norway’s lone goal, spending nearly the entire third period thus far in the Norway zone.

Third period, 1:47, Canada 3-1: So much for that one-goal deficit.

Drew Doughty takes a pass from Ryan Getzlaf, weaves through a few Norwegian defenders and beats Lars Haugen to put Team Canada back ahead by two.

It’s the second point of the game for the Los Angeles Kings defenseman, who also assisted on Jamie Benn’s tally late in the second period.

Third period, 0:24, Canada 2-1: Norway needed to strike quickly, and strike quickly it did.

Carey Price misplayed the puck behind the net, leading to a Mathis Olimb goal that cut Canada’s lead in half.

Third period, 0:00, Canada 2-0: The teams have returned to the ice for the final 20 minutes of hockey. An early goal by Canada could seal it.

Norway has played admirably on the defensive end — captain Ole-Kristian Tollefsen especially — but its offensive game was nonexistent in the second period. That will have to change, and fast, if the Norwegians are to have any hope of mounting a comeback.

Second intermission, Canada 2-0: Canada definitely came alive a bit in the second, getting on the board twice and owning a 14-2 advantage in shots. This one seems like it could get out of hand in the third.

Norway will start the final period on the power play, though, as Duncan Keith was whistled for holding with 27 seconds remaining in the second.

Second period, 18:03, Canada 2-0: A Patrick Sharp hooking penalty puts the Norwegians on the power play, but they are able to get just one shot off against Price.

Norway is getting outshot 13-1 here in the second.

Second period, 15:19, Canada 2-0: Now, this looks more like Canada hockey.

Patrice Bergeron carries the puck into the zone and finds a wide-open Jamie Benn streaking down the left side. Benn, who drew the penalty that led to Canada’s first goal, beats Haugen to put his team up 2-0.

Bergeron now has two assists today, having been credited with a helper on Shea Weber’s goal, as well.

Second period, 11:00, Canada 1-0: Drew Doughty came this close to extending Canada’s lead.

Doughty unleashed a slapper from the blue line that — after possibly being deflected by Jonathan Toews — rung off the inside of the right post.

The play pulled Haugen far out in the crease, giving Patrick Sharp a glorious backside chance with a wide-open net. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen did a nice job of getting his stick in the way, though, and Norway cleared the puck out.

Second period, 6:20, Canada 1-0: Canada is on the board.

It started with Jamie Benn, who held possession despite being knocked to the ground along the boards and drew a penalty on a wraparound attempt on goal. With Carey Price heading to the bench for an extra attacker, Shea Weber gathered the puck near the blue line and rocketed a shot past Haugen for the game’s first goal.

Duncan Keith and Patrice Bergeron were credited with assists on the play.

Second period, 1:30, 0-0: Jeff Carter gets another great look in front of Haugen, but his shot goes wide to the left of the net.

Second period, 0:00, 0-0: The second period is underway.

First intermission, 0-0: Norway gets off a few good shots on Carey Price, but Canada is able to successfully kill the Getzlaf minor penalty.

The Norwegians have to be pleased with these first 20 minutes, though. They’re playing physical, relatively organized hockey, while Canada has been unable to take advantage of its considerable edge in skill.

Norway netminder Lars Haugen has nine saves so far, and Canada counterpart Carey Price has eight.

Expect Mike Babcock to ream his squad out in the dressing room. The Canadians definitely did not seem fired up to play in the first.

First period, 17:29, 0-0: Norway will now have a power-play opportunity, as Ryan Getzlaf heads to the box for a trip.

First period, 11:00, 0-0: A well-placed poke check by Jeff Carter spoils Norway’s best scoring chance of the day. Morten Ask had the puck with space in front of Carey Price, but Carter was able to get his stick in the way, preventing Ask from getting a shot off.

First period, 9:30, 0-0: That was not a strong showing on the man-advantage for Canada.

Norway was able to clear the puck out of the zone four times because of poor puck handling on Canada’s end, leading to two offsides calls. We are back to 5-on-5 near the midway point of the first.

First period, 7:04, 0-0: The Norwegians are called for too many men on the ice, and Canada will go on the power play for the first time today.

First period, 5:05, 0-0: As expected, Canada has controlled the tempo of this game thus far, but the Canadians have been unable to get off many clean shots on net. The guys in red and white look a little lethargic early on. We’re still scoreless.

12:05 a.m.: We are underway from Sochi.

Canada is wearing red jerseys with black pants, and Norway is sporting white tops with blue pants.

12:01 a.m.: And the defensive pairings:

Keith–Weber
Vlasic–Doughty
Bouwmeester–Pietrangelo
Hamhuis

Canadiens blue liner P.K. Subban scratched.

11:58 a.m.: Here are the forward lines for Canada:

Kunitz–Crosby–Carter
Marleau–Getzlaf–Perry
Sharp–Toews–Nash
Benn–Tavares–Bergeron
St. Louis

Colorado’s Matt Duchene is the scratch.

11:45 a.m.: I mentioned earlier that Norway hasn’t won an Olympic game in 20 years, but they haven’t exactly had a lot of opportunities to break that slump.

This is just the Norwegians’ second trip back to the Olympics since the 1994 Lillehammer games, having failed to qualify in 1998, 2002 and 2006.

Norway didn’t fare particularly well in Vancouver, going 0-3 in the preliminary round, but the Norwegians did take an underrated Switzerland team to overtime in their final game before losing 5-4.

Canada was Norway’s first opponent in those Olympics, as well, and the Canadians won with ease, getting a hat trick from Jarome Iginla in an 8-0 rout.  

10:15 a.m. ET: Team USA began its 2014 Olympic hockey schedule with a thorough beatdown of Slovakia on Thursday morning. Canada should not have much trouble doing the same.

The defending gold medalists boast arguably the most talented roster in Sochi, and they’ll begin their title defense against a Norway team that has not won a game at the Olympics since 1994.

Canada returns 11 players from that 2010 squad, including captain Sidney Crosby, who scored the gold-medal-winning goal in overtime against the Americans. Norway, meanwhile, has just one NHL player on its Olympic roster: New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello.

Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price will get the nod in net for coach Mike Babcock’s squad in the opener. Roberto Luongo, who helped lead Canada to gold in Vancouver after taking over for Martin Brodeur, will start Friday against Austria.

We’ll be back in just a bit with the starting line combinations and defensive pairings. Puck drop is set for noon.

Photo via Twitter/@NBCOlympics