Olympics

Canada-Austria Preview

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Canada's victory in its group play opener didn't come in the dominant fashion many expected.

The Canadians might be primed for a much more explosive showing Friday against Austria.

Canada got off to a slow start in a 3-1 win over Group B foe Norway on Thursday, finding itself in a scoreless game after the first period. Shea Weber broke the tie with a goal at the 6:20 mark of the second and Jamie Benn scored nine minutes later, with Patrice Bergeron assisting on both scores.

Carey Price surrendered Norway's only goal on 20 shots 22 seconds into the third after he misplayed a puck behind the net. Drew Doughty scored less than two minutes later for the final margin.

After claiming a mere 9-8 advantage in shots in the first 20 minutes, Canada outshot Norway 29-12 the rest of the way, including a 14-2 edge in the second period.

For a country heavily favored to repeat as gold medalists for the first time since 1952, it was a relatively underwhelming performance. The Canadians were scoreless on two power-play opportunities, while the lone goal by Norway came on one of its four chances on the advantage.

"Every team here is good, and we know we have to get better as things go on," said captain Sidney Crosby, who won 13 of his 19 faceoffs as Canada held a 42-20 advantage in the faceoff circle.

"But I thought second and third we definitely got to our game a lot more."

It's still not clear who is coach Mike Babcock's top goaltender. Roberto Luongo will get the nod Friday with Mike Smith dressing as his backup. Luongo posted a 1.76 goals-against average while starting five games during Canada's run to the gold in Vancouver, while Thursday marked Price's Olympic debut. Smith boasts no prior Olympic experience.

Michael Grabner scored the first of his three goals for Austria 36 seconds in Thursday against Finland, and the game was tied 2-all through the first 19 minutes before the Finns rolled to an 8-4 win in Austria's first Olympic game since 2002.

Grabner's hat trick in his Olympic debut was one of few highlights for the Austrians in a one-sided affair that saw them get outshot 52-20. Thomas Hundertpfund scored the other goal while Brian Lebler and Michael Raffl each recorded two assists.

Bernhard Starkbaum faced at least 15 shots in each period, and Austria fought off Finland's first two power plays before giving up two goals on the advantage seven minutes apart in the third.

"In case we didn't know what we were up against, we got a reality check," said captain Thomas Vanek, who recorded one shot. "You've got to play a certain way, and I think we didn't do it. Our goalie needs to be our best player, and we need to help him more."

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