And we thought Olympic hockey was boring.
Jonas Hiller came this... close... to single-handedly defeating the Canadian, gold-medal favorite men's hockey team on Thursday night, but in the end, Canada's potent offense and Martin Brodeur's years of experience were enough to outduel Hiller and Team Switzerland.
The home team won 3-2, but in the definition of a moral victory for the Swiss team, it shockingly took a shootout for Canada to get the victory. Hiller was flat out spectacular, making 45 saves total plus three in the shootout. He stopped his Anaheim Ducks teammate to keep the game tied in the penalty shot contest, but Crosby would end it on his second opportunity to shoot on the young goaltender.
On the other end, Brodeur was typical Brodeur in the shootout, stopping all for Swiss shooters with ease. In the game as a whole, he was certainly outdone by Hiller, but considering how well Hiller played, that's not much of a knock on Marty.
Offensively, Canada was led by the line that knows each other best. Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton, teammates during the regular season with the NHL's San Jose Sharks, were involved in both Canadian goals.
So besides Hiller, how did the Swiss come so close to knocking off the Canadians? For starters, they did an excellent job in blocking shots and allowing Hiller to get a good look at the 40-plus that did get through. Switzerland was extremely undisciplined, taking seven penalties compared to just the two taken by Canada, but their penalty killing unit was certainly up to the task as well. Neither of Canada's two goals came on the power play.
They were extremely aggressive on the puck and attacked the Canadians from start to finish. They showed the Canadians that they weren't the push overs many had them out to be, and while the better team did win in the end, the Swiss certainly made them work for it.
If Switzerland would've pulled off the victory, it would have been a repeat of the 2006 preliminary upset they gave Canada in Torino.
Because the game went beyond regulation time, the Canadians will only get two points for the victory instead of three. Switzerland gets one point as a consolation. That means, of course, that the Americans now have an outright lead in Group A with six points, compared to Canada's five. That sets up an intriguing final preliminary game between the two North American neighbors on Sunday evening.
Switzerland will face Norway on Sunday in their final preliminary round contest.