Along with the beginning of the second round of the playoff, the excitement in Leaf land was also brimming for the start of the World Championships in Slovakia. Canada had their first taste of tournament action in a 4-1 victory over the Belarussians, who are captained by Mikhail Grabovski. In the win, all three goal scorers (Eberle with two, Jeff Skinner, John Tavares) are under the age of 20, with the youngest being 18-year old Skinner. Judging from the offensive output displayed by these three youngsters, the Canadians will rely on youthful enthusiasm and speed to overpower their opposition. From a Leafs perspective, James Reimer was solid in his Team Canada debut. He was postionally sound and was very composed in net. What was a refreshing change in his game is his improvement on rebound control. He has clearly corrected some of his weaknesses displayed earlier this season and made a concerted effort to return in top form this fall.
Dion Phaneuf and Luke Schenn were both steady on the backend, each logging top four minutes. Phaneuf took three minor penalties, but compensated for his undiscipline by unleashing a cannon from the blueline, which eventually led to Jordan Eberles second goal.
Canada is back in action on Sunday against Cristobal Huet and Team France.
Latest from DGB on the first round of the playoffs.
Colby Armstrong comments on his appearance on theÂ TSN playoff panelÂ earlier this week.
Mike Ulmer offers an inspirational story about a passionate Maple Leafs fan who battled cancer.
Tampa Bay jumps out to a 1-0 series lead on Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
Gagne was helped off the ice after takingÂ a heavy hit from Captials defenseman Scott Hannan last night in Washington.
Three very deserving nominations for the NHL’s top bench boss award.
Tootoo turning things around in the playoffs for Nashville.
Crosby suffered a setback during his rehabiliation process in early-April.
World Championship Links:
EberleÂ notches two markers, while Tavares and Skinner also score for Team Canada in their 4-1 win over Belarus.
Jeffler previews the World Championship from a Leaf perspective.
Brian Burke, Dave Nonis and equipment manager Brian Papineau are also involved in the tournament.
Did you expect the Lightning to win the opening game of the series in Washington? How will the victory affect their momentum going into game 2? What are your expectations for game 2 ofÂ the Vancouver/NashvilleÂ series tonight?