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Canada ends Olympics with another shutout, hockey gold medal

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The Canadian and Swedish hockey teams were fitting Olympic gold medal finalists on Feb. 23. Since Canada and Sweden won the last two Olympic hockey gold medals, the 2014 finale served as a tiebreaker. Yet the tie was broken rather decisively by the Canadians, as they cruised to a 3-0 victory and a second straight Olympic triumph.

The gold medal game was closer than the bronze medal one on Feb. 22, but not by that much. As it turned out, Canada's 1-0 semifinal win over the USA on Feb. 21 was the last bit of drama in these Olympics. Finland destroyed the Americans for bronze a day later, leading to the Canadians dominating Sweden the day after that.

Canada's big stars made the difference in this finale, including Sidney Crosby. Jonathan Toews started the scoring in the second, yet Crosby gave the Canadians breathing room later in the period. After going the entire Olympics without scoring a goal, Crosby scored his first Olympic goal since the one that won the 2010 gold medal contest.

This tally wasn't as dramatic or decisive, yet it put Sweden in a hole it wasn't equipped to come back from. Not only did the Swedes barely get any shots to start the all-important third period, they gave up one more goal to Chris Kunitz for good measure. The rest was handled by Carey Price, who got his second consecutive shutout in the medal round -- a direct contrast to the U.S. team getting no goals at all in the medal round.

This is why America is leaving Sochi without a hockey medal, while Canada is taking home the gold for the second straight time. There were no real thrills in the final weekend of the tournament, yet the Canadians were in such control, they didn't need any.

Sweden went from having a perfect Olympics to being manhandled in sudden fashion against Canada, just like the Americans before them. At the least, the Swedish got a silver medal for their troubles, although they and the rest of the hockey world are still looking up at Canada on the Olympic hockey podium.

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