With three wins in as many preliminary games under their belt, Team Canada anxiously awaits their next step at the Olympic Games.
From what we've seen in the opening matchups, the team has shown a strong work ethic and solid defensive performance on the ice, but their offensive production hasn't reached its fullest potential yet.
With two regulations wins and one overtime victory in Sochi, Team Canada will face off against either Switzerland or Latvia in their first elimination round. And despite the chatter surrounding the team, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is confident in the chemistry that's continuing to develop from line to line.
"Couple games ago with [Patrick Marleau] and [Jeff Carter] went really well and there were a few great shots that Carts put away," Toews told reporters. "Last night I think we had a few more [chances], maybe a few worked for us, but I think as a line we found some chemistry where when we get things going, we keep the puck alive and we make plays together. We're trying to find ways to find some good goals."
Toews' line did just that in their opening game, as Carter tallied a hat trick against Austria. Together, Toews and Marleau tallied four assists in the 6-0 victory.
But despite the six-goal differential in their opening matchup, Canada's offense still wasn't looking especially strong. Coach Mike Babcock was unhappy with what he saw on the ice, which later prompted him to shake things up and list Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp as a healthy scratch in their following game against Norway.
The same concerns spilled into their following games as Team Canada recorded a 3-1 win over Norway and squeaked out a 2-1 overtime victory over Finland; a game in which only Kings defenseman Drew Doughty scored in.
But now the competition will start to heat up and Toews is confident in the improvements he's seeing day by day. Playing with an NHL veteran like Marleau has also helped boost Toews on the ice, and he's excited to see what his line can do as the tournament continues.
"I've always known he's a smart playmaker, he can move. He's just got a lot of experience, a lot of confidence, just old school confidence with the puck," Toews said of Marleau. "He's a fun player to play with, so we if we can make plays and find a way to get it to Carts, we saw what could happen the other day [when he scored a hat trick], so try to keep that going."