2014 Winter Olympics: Defensemen Pace Canadians to Another Victory

Canada Men's Hockey

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Canada cruised to victory over Austria this afternoon and is a win over Finland away from winning Group B. The star-studded lineup has surprisingly been led by its defensemen through the first two games. Drew Doughty and Shea Weber opened the scoring for the Canadians and gave them an early 2-0 lead.

With some of the most talented forwards in the world, you might expect the centers and winger to take care of the scoring, but that has not been the case thus far. Playing on the bigger international ice, the defensemen have had more room at the point and are capitalizing.

Weber and Doughty were also responsible for two of three goals scored by Canada in their first game. Through two games, the Canadian defensemen have scored four of the team’s nine goals and added four assists.

The Canadians also feature some of the top all-around defensemen in the world. Duncan Keith and P.K. Subban have each won the Norris Trophy, and Weber is thought to be a leading candidate to be this season’s Norris Trophy race as well.

Not only are they producing in the offensive zone, they are also playing shutdown defense. Through two games, they have surrendered just one goal, but have yet to play a quality opponent. Finland is playing well so far, scoring 14 goals in two games, and will be Canada’s first real test.

If Canada’s defensemen can continue to shut teams down and contribute offensively, then they will be very difficult to beat.

John Rader is a contributor for Follow him on Twitter @jcrader, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.