TORONTO -- You want a Game Seven feeling in September? Tonight at 7 on ESPN2 will the place as Canada and Russia meet in the first semifinal of the World Cup of Hockey. It's winner-take-all, with the survivor advancing to the best-of-three final against Sunday's Sweden-Team Europe winner.
"They know what's going on. They're big boys and had it all worked out too," Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said after a morning skate in Air Canada Centre. "We're focused on process. If we do good things, good things will happen."
"Anything can happen in a one-game showdown so it makes you nervous because we've got a great team to play against," said Canada winger Matt Duchene of Colorado. "But nervous in a good way. It's good energy."
Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin acknowledged the long history of Canada-Russia games dating to the 1972 Summit Series but said he's not going to let that legacy overwhelm preparation for this game.
"Of course, history is always around and going to be part of it," Ovechkin said. "But you don't have to think about history because that's what's happened in the past. We're just excited and looking forward to playing tonight."
Team Canada defenseman Drew Doughty of Los Angeles said he felt like it was the morning of a Stanley Cup Game Seven.
"That's how we're going to play it for sure," Doughty said. "We've got to win this one or we're going home and no one wants to go home."
"It's an elimination game. It is a Game 7 mentality," added Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov of Team Russia. "Every mistake counts."
Canada defenseman Brent Burns of San Jose took an easier approach.
"I've got a great nap coming up," the gap-toothed Burns joked. "It will be fun. This whole experience has been great. It's just another big game we have to win."
Canada has outscored opponents, 14-3, in its three games. No other team in the tournament has a goal differential above plus-3.
"You go on the ice against their best players and then another line comes out and they're just as good," Kulikov said. "To me, they have four first lines."