Read the following article about Game 1 of the finals of the World Cup of Hockey.
Europe keeps it close in Game 1 loss to Canada
When Team Europe captain Anze Kopitar showed up for the opener of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey final against Canada, a note from Wayne Gretzky was waiting in his dressing room stall at the Air Canada Centre.
His note to Kopitar was not the Great One choosing sides before Canada cracked open the best-of-three series with a 3-1 victory.
He lives in Los Angeles and has not only become friends with the talented Kings captain, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, but Gretzky admires Kopitar, opening earlier in the day that he's one of the top-two players in the game.
Kopitar has played a massive part in Team Europe's surprise run to the final and was a key performer in this tight opener.
Was it more of a surprise that Kopitar and Co. kept it close on Tuesday or was it more of a surprise that Canada suffered through its first clunker in a long time?Probably, a little of both.
"There's nothing to lose for us. We played well in their zone and we were getting chances. But we shot ourselves in the foot a couple of times. We gave them a couple of freebies."
After a strong start from Team Europe, Canada's top line took advantage of a turnover for yet another Sidney Crosby to Patrice Bergeron to Brad Marchand goal.
Ryan Getzlaf stripped Europe's stud defender Zdeno Chara to set up Steven Stamkos for a 2-0 lead. Team Europe was fantastic later in the first period and for long stretches in the second period when Canada got messy.
Before and after Tatar's goal, Canadian goalie Carey Price kept his mates in the lead with a series of brilliant stops to improve to 15-0-0 in a Canadian sweater.
As the game drew to close Crosby once again, came to the rescue, setting up Bergeron to give Canada breathing room in the third period.
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