VANCOUVER, Feb 24, 2010 (AFP) - Dan Boyle and Rick Nash scored 46 seconds apart in a blistering first period to lead gold medal favourite Canada to a 7-3 rout of Russia in the quarter-finals of the Olympic hockey tournament on Wednesday.
Corey Perry scored twice in the second period and linemate Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists for Canada who avenged two consecutive losses to Russia in the past two World Championships.
Canadian goalkeeper Roberto Luongo (1) misses the puck during the Men's Ice Hockey Quarter-finals Canada against Russia in Vancouver, Canada on February 24, 2010. Canada won 7-3. AFP PHOTO
Canada, who had romped into a 4-1 lead in the opening frame, advances to the semi-finals on Friday where they will face either defending champion Sweden or Slovakia.
"We always feel under pressure to play in Canada, that is the way it is," forward Sidney Crosby said. "Today we used it to energize us.
"It is just a quarter-final, and as good as it is, we have to turn the page quickly."
This was just the second Olympic hockey meeting between the two long-time international rivals.
Russia beat the Canadians 2-0 in the quarter-finals of the 2006 Turin Games. The loss eliminated Canada and they finished seventh, their worst showing in an Olympics.
"Both sides wanted to win dearly for their countries," Canadian defenceman Scott Niedermayer said of Wednesday's game in front of a crowd of 17,740 at Canada Hockey Place arena.
Like Turin, Canada got off to a slow start in Vancouver, suffering a 5-3 loss in the preliminary round to the fifth-seeded USA.
But Canadian fans can take solace from the fact that Canada also struggled in the preliminary round of the 2002 Salt Lake Games and went on to win the gold medal.
Defenceman Boyle also had a goal and two assists, while Shea Weber, Nash, and Brenden Morrow added singles for the winners.
Sergei Gonchar, Maxim Afinogenov and Dmitri Kalinin scored for Russia who won their group in the preliminary round and received a bye into the quarters.
Roberto Luongo got his second-straight win for Canada, making 25 saves. The crowd roared "Louuuuuuu" every time the Vancouver Canucks goaltender made a save or handled the puck.
Canada set the tone in the first period by steamrolling the Russian defence and swarming goaltender Evgeni Nabokov until he was pulled in the second period and replaced by backup Ilya Bryzgalov.
Russian superstar Alex Ovechkin was a non-factor for much of the game.
"What do you think? I'm disappointed," snapped Ovechkin.
Canada's defence interrupted Ovechkin's flow and when he wasn't being pounded into the boards by the defence he was skating back to the Russian bench to replace one of the three sticks he snapped in the first two periods.
He took a shot off his right hand in the third period and was seen grimacing and icing it on the bench.
"We were not ready for the first five minutes and when we woke up it was too late," Ovechkin said.
Nash and Perry, with his second of the game, both scored goals as Canada forced the Russians into turnovers at the Canadian blueline.
Nash finished off a two-on-one with Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews to make it 3-0 just 13 minutes into the opening period. Forward Mike Richards started the play by stripping Evgeni Malkin of the puck.
Perry padded Canada's lead to 7-2 halfway through the middle frame on a similar play. Getzlaf forced the turnover on the backcheck and moved the puck up to Jordan Staal who fed Perry for the easy goal on Bryzgalov.
"They have so many dangerous scorers so our forwards did a good job of forcing turnovers," Niedermayer said.