After their performance against Team USA on Aug. 26 in the group stage, this is now Canada’s tournament to lose. Even though they are banged up, it would be shocking if Canada lost to Germany. But, hey, anything can happen, right?
Well. Almost anything.
Key Story: Canada’s Attack at Evens
Canada enters today’s game coming off of a 5-1 win against Team USA, so it is safe to say that they are feeling confident about their ability to put pucks in the net. The host nation has averaged a staggering 49 shots on goal per game and five goals per game against teams that are ranked higher and are undoubtedly deeper than Germany.
CANADA GOAL!— The Ice Garden (@TheIceGarden) August 26, 2021
Mélodie Daoust draws first blood with this nifty little five-hole tuck.
CAN 1 - 0 USA pic.twitter.com/VNmfF7AIxX
Even if Marie Philip Poulin and/or Sarah Fillier are unable to play this team still has an incredible amount of forward depth. Interestingly enough, Canada is still searching for its first power-play goal of the season. They are 0-for-14 entering today’s game which is shocking considering the firepower that they have. As surprising as that may be I would not call special teams a weakness for the Canadians.
I’m not saying this is impossible — this is hockey, after all — but the odds are seriously stacked against Germany here. Canada’s fourth line has more firepower than Germany’s top line. I am actually a big fan of a few of the German defenders and Germany’s goaltending, but I just don’t see a path to victory here. Canada is just too fast, too skilled, and too deep.
Canada’s Key Player: Mélodie Daoust
For whatever reason, Mélodie Daoust never seems to get the respect she deserves. It seems like she is only sometimes counted among the very best forwards in the world and that, my friends, is a mistake. Daoust is the real deal. The veteran forward is putting together yet another classic performance in a major international tournament. She’s doing it again, just like she did in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Mélodie Daoust puts Canada ahead 4-0 after finding the rebound, the primary assist will go to Natalie Spooner. Sounds like Nurse is getting A2. pic.twitter.com/PPIV6K23hw— Mike Murphy (@DigDeepBSB) August 22, 2021
After the group stage, Daoust is leading all skaters and Team Canada with three goals and four assists to go along with 16 shots on goal in four games. And she’s done that with 14:16 TOI/GP. The hype around Sarah Fillier and the energy of Jamie Lee Rattray have been all the rage but it’s Daoust’s name all over the box score. She’s in a groove and has been producing without Poulin as her pivot, which is an encouraging sign for Canada and very bad news for the Germans.
Germany’s Key Player: Jenny Harß
There’s no surprise here.
Germany’s best chance of shocking the world is Harß — or perhaps Franziska Albl — absolutely standing on her head. The better bet has to be Harß. She’s been great all tournament and has a ton of experience under her belt, which should serve her well in a must-win game facing such great odds. She’s been Germany’s best player on many nights and will need to be the best player on the ice on either team for her country to pull off what would be a historic upset.
I don’t envy Harß or any goalie who has to go up against Canada right now but we know goalies can steal games. The great goalies build their legacies on stealing games that we can’t afford to forget. Harß is the greatest goalie in the history of German ice hockey. If she pulls this off, it would be the crowning jewel of an unforgettable career.
How to Watch
TSN (Canada), NHL Network at 5 p.m. Mountain time, 7 p.m. Eastern time.