MINSK, Belarus - Unlike their first two games of this tournament, no former Los Angeles Kings had any on-ice impact. In fact, the only former King playing was Brayden Schenn who finshed the contest with a -1 rating. Nevertheless, Team Canada - led by GM Rob Blake - held on to beat the Czech Republic anyway by a 4-3 score as they improve to 2-0-1 at the World Hockey Championship.
While they did fall behind early thanks to a goal by Roman Cervenka, Canada responded with four unanswered goals.
Joel Ward, who notched a pair of tallies in his country's previous game, scored to tie the game. But in the second, the Canadians turned it up a notch as they received goals from Ottawa's Kyle Turris, Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon and Toronto's Morgan Rielly.
The Czechs, though, were content to give up as they made things interesting in the third thanks to goals by Jiri Novotny and everyone's new favourite rival in Los Angeles, San Jose's Tomas Hertl. But despite seeing their lead evaporate to just a single goal, Team Canada held on, thanks to timely goaltending late by Toronto's James Riemer.
For Kings' assistant GM Rob Blake, today's victory, despite the shaky finish, was a promising one. With his maiden opportunity leading a team, Blake's Canadian squad moves about .500 for the first time in this tournament as they prepare for their Thursday matchup against Denmark with a bit more confidence.
Team Canada has not won gold at this tournament since 2007 and haven't medaled at all since 2009. Rob Blake looks to change that in 2014. So far, so good for the former Norris winner.