Things changed at the Olympics dramatically and quickly for Jeff Carter. The LA King scored a natural hat trick and made more out of less when it came to ice time than any other player on the Canadian Olympic team.
SOCHI – Until Jeff Carter stepped out of the penalty box at 2:29 of the second period, he was having a rather, well, brutal Olympic tournament. But like any elite player, Carter proved he could change his personal fortunes with the flick of his stick.
On that play, Carter created a turnover that led to Canada’s third goal against Austria and his first of a natural hat trick in Canada’s 6-0 victory over Austria. With the win, Canada guaranteed a place in the quarterfinal, but you already knew that was going to happen.
The Canadian onslaught came from all fronts, with Drew Doughty and Shea Weber each scoring goals for the second consecutive game. Then Carter got in on the action and Ryan Getzlaf added a shorthanded goal to chase Bernhard Starkbaum from the Austrian net after the second period. Each of Carter’s goals was assisted by Patrick Marleau.
So what is it about the 13th forward on the Canadian roster? In 2010, Jonathan Toews started the tournament in that spot, then went on to become Canada’s best player and the top forward in the tournament. Martin St-Louis started with that status in Canada’s first game of the tournament against Norway, then worked his way up to the top line for the game against Austria. Carter was the odd man out for the game against Norway and responded with a second period hat trick, despite logging just 2:42 in ice time in the period.
And speaking of unsung performances, Roberto Luongo likely gave the Canadian team management cause to pause on its next goaltending decision. Luongo wasn’t severely tested, but looked very solid and composed in stopping 23 shots.
I’ll have more on the game and tournament so far later. Look out for my updated blog soon.
THN’s Three Stars
1. Jeff Carter
2. Patrick Marleau
3. Roberto Luongo.