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Barzal Breaks Out on Birthday, Plays Big Part in Canada Comeback

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Mathew Barzal

It had been a lackluster performance for New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal for Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships. Through six preliminary-round games, Barzal only had two assists and had not brought his “A” game.

For one reason or another, Mathew Barzal had not been able to show off his flashiness, despite having the puck on his stick more often than not. Passes were being intercepted, and there was a lot of perimeter work but not a ton of chances towards goal.

We had been waiting for Barzal to break out, and I guess he was just waiting for his 25th birthday as he notched a goal and an assist against Sweden, to help send Team Canada to the semi-finals.

On the surface, that is a solid game from Mathew Barzal. But the way in which he recorded his two points was heroic.

Team Canada, despite playing pretty well, found themselves down 3-0 after two periods of play. The Canadians had been able to cut the deficit to just a goal, and with the clock ticking down in the third, Barzal scored his first goal of the tournament.

With 1:23 to go in regulation and Team Canada down 3-2, Mathew Barzal led a backhand shot from the top of the circle go, and Sweden netminder Linus Ullmark could only get a piece of it as we had a tie game.

Barzal’s heroic efforts pushed the game to overtime, but he was not done there.

In overtime, Sweden forward William Nylander headed to the box for tripping, leading to a four-on-three advantage for Team Canada. Canadian head coach Claude Julian had Mathew Barzal out there (how could he not).

And on that man advantage, Mathew Barzal’s no-look pass to Drake Batherson sent Team Canada to the semi-finals.

That no-look pass on the power play was vintage Barzal.

Through regulation, Mathew Barzal played 20:05 and only needed 17 seconds of power-play time in overtime to leave his mark on the extra frame.

He was named Player of the Game for Team Canada.

Could this be the game that instills newfound confidence in Mathew Barzal?

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