POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 24, 2014
SOCHI, Russia » Sidney Crosby skated in alone on Henrik Lundqvist, faking Sweden's goalie to the ice with a textbook-quality deke and sliding a perfect backhand into the net.
Canada did everything by the book at the Sochi Olympics, winning all six games with a ferocious commitment to defense and discipline. When Canada's captain finally got his first goal of the games Sunday, it had none of the dramatics of Crosby's last Olympic goal four years ago in Vancouver.
But it was every bit as golden.
Jonathan Toews scored in the first period, Carey Price made 24 saves in his second consecutive shutout, and Canada defended its Olympic men's hockey title with a 3-0 victory over Sweden.
"We're just an amazing team to watch, the way we work together," Toews said. "We were just all over them. It's fun to be a part of."
Chris Kunitz also scored as the Canadians confirmed their worldwide dominance in their national game by winning the gold for the third time in the past four Olympics. No team in the NHL era has controlled a tournament like this group, which allowed just three goals in six games and never trailed at any point in the 12-day tournament on the shores of the Black Sea.
"Not quite as dramatic as the other one," Crosby said. "Just real solid all the way through. We knew the way we wanted to play, and the last couple of games, we were solid. With each game, we seemed to build more and more confidence."
By the final event of the Sochi Olympics, that confidence was unshakable. Canada became the only repeat Olympic champ in the NHL era and the first team to go unbeaten through the Olympic tournament since the Soviet Union in Sarajevo in 1984.
Canada won its record ninth Olympic hockey gold medal -- its first outside North America since 1952 -- and joined the women's team to complete Canada's second straight Olympic hockey sweep.
The Canadians didn't allow a goal in their final 164-plus minutes at the Bolshoy Ice Dome after the first period of the quarterfinals against Latvia, shutting out the U.S. and Sweden.
While Canada got goals from its two best centers, Sweden had to play without its top three centers. With Henrik Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg already out for the tournament, Nicklas Backstrom was scratched shortly before game time. Swedish Olympic officials said Backstrom had a positive drug test because of an allergy medicine.
Russia's Alexander Legkov got down to work in a hurry. He led a Russian sweep of the men's 50-kilometer cross-country race. He was followed by Maxim Vylegzhanin and Ilia Chernousov. That assured Russia of finishing with the most medals. It was also the host nation's first gold in the sport in Sochi. "This is priceless," Legkov said. "It's more valuable than my life."
After struggling these last years, Alexander Zubkov set things right. He drove Russia to victory in the four-man sled, adding to his two-man title in Sochi. He is the sixth pilot to sweep those events at an Olympics but the first to do so in his home country. Steven Holcomb, the 2010 Olympic champ, won bronze to give the U.S. seven sliding medals in Sochi, tops among all countries. Oskars Melbardis of Latvia took the silver. Germany had no medals in the four-man for the first time since 1968.