Defenseman Doughty spearheading Canada's offense
SOCHI -- In a tournament where Canada's forwards have struggled to score goals, Drew Doughty has become the team's go-to weapon.
Doughty scored both of Canada's goals Sunday in a 2-1 overtime victory against Finland to help his country clinch the top spot in Group B of the 2014 Sochi Olympics preliminary round. The Los Angeles Kings defenseman also scored a goal in each of Canada's wins against Norway and Austria, and now leads the club in goals (four) and points (five).
"I don't know what's going on," Doughty said. "I don't score like this in L.A. at all. A lot of it is just my teammates -- they're doing a great job of getting me the puck. When you play with these high-skilled forwards, all you've got to do is find some room on the ice and they're going to find you, so -- just trying to get my shots through and on the net."
This is not the first time Doughty has stood out on this stage. He was the youngest player on the Canadian roster at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and began the tournament as the team's seventh defenseman.
It did not take long for Doughty to earn regular shifts and by the end of the tournament he was one of the team's top players.
"He's skilled. He has a great shot," Canada captain Sidney Crosby said. "I think he's really good at getting his shot through. They do a good job here of team defense and five guys collapsing to the net, so you have to have a combination of a good enough shot to get it through and obviously the hockey sense to make that decision when you do it. He's done a really good job of that."
Added Finland defenseman Kimmo Timonen: "He's really good with the puck, so it doesn't surprise me how he played. He's up there, one from of the top defensemen."
Doughty isn't alone in helping to sustain the offense while the forwards not named Jeff Carter have not been scoring to meet expectations. Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber has a pair of goals and four points, tying him with San Jose Sharks forward Patrick Marleau for second on the team.
Carter, Doughty's teammate in Los Angeles, had three goals in one period against Austria, but otherwise Jamie Benn and Ryan Getzlaf are the only other forwards with a goal.
"There's a lot of great forwards on this team and guys that can put the puck in the net," Weber said. "Teams collapse here and really take away the middle of the ice. I think we're getting some chances and things are going in."
Doughty has scored at even strength during regulation, on the power play and at four-on-four in overtime. He's also been a big part of a defense corps that has limited opportunities at the other end of the ice.
This shouldn't be surprising, considering his play four years ago in Vancouver and his role in helping the Kings to the Stanley Cup. He's also been a Norris Trophy finalist.
"I strive [for] these opportunities," Doughty said. "Some of it is I play in Los Angeles and people don't see what we do there day-in, day-out. And I'm talking about our whole lineup. This is my chance to really show people in the East and all of Canada. I look forward to that opportunity."