After stumbling against Switzerland, Canada suffered an underperformance for the second straight season, losing 3-2 to Denmark at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Finland on Monday.
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The Danes killed two birds with one stone with this win as they edged the Maple Leaf to third place in Group A. This is their first win against Canada in this competition.
“It means a lot to us,” said forward Nikolaj Ehlers, whose post-game comments were picked up by the IIHF website. Few people really believed we could do it. But we did. There is a lot of faith in this group that makes this possible. We know what we can do.”
The surprising Scandinavians got off to a great start in the day’s meeting. Defender Markus Lauridsen opened the scoring midway through the first period. He beat Chris Driedger with a sharp shot after receiving a clever handoff from Matthias Asperup.
Minutes later, Morten Jensen opened the door for Canada with a penalty for delaying the game. However, it was his teammate Peter Regin, a former member of the Ottawa Senators, who took the opportunity to hit the bull’s eye on the Canadian power play.
Claude Julien’s team was never able to catch up after that. Maxime Comtois had halved the Danish lead in the middle with a draw from the face-off, but Mathias Bau ultimately put the game out of reach for the Maple Leaf.
New Jersey Devils guards Damon Severson and Ryan Graves breathed life into Canada just over three minutes from time. Severson made himself his teammate’s accomplice in a lost cause, while Sebastien Dahm left nothing to his rivals afterwards.
“It’s important that we realize that all teams will play their best game against us,” admitted Claude Julien. We weren’t as prepared as we should have been in the first half and we were down 2-0, which forced us to play catching up hockey. We played very well in the second half, but the penalties slowed our pace. In the third period, the Danes played desperately, blocking shots, getting in firing lines and wanting to win at all costs. This approach is also important for us if we want to be champions at the end of the tournament. We must be more desperate.”
The Danish keeper made 29 saves in the win, eclipsing his opponent Driedger, who saved just 21 of 24 pucks.
Canada will complete their provisional fixture list against France, sixth in Group A, on Tuesday.