Jonathan Quick stopped 36 shots in a strong performance for the Americans, who had trailed for just 7:19 in Sochi before Benn’s goal put them in a hole they never escaped.
Canada scored early in the second period during a shift by Benn and Anaheim Ducks teammates Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Benn got the puck outside to Bouwmeester, who threaded a pass into the slot for Benn’s deflection past Quick, whose aggression sometimes makes him vulnerable to such shots.
Benn, the Dallas Stars captain, didn’t get an invitation to Canada’s summer Olympic orientation camp and was one of the last players added to the roster. But he’s had a great tournament and his goal was all the offense needed by Price, the Montreal goalie who easily handled the Americans’ few good chances, including their clunky power plays.
Crosby still has no goals through five games in Sochi, but the Canadian captain had his best overall game as Canada beat the Americans for the fourth time in five Olympic meetings since the NHL players joined the party in 1998. The showdown might have been the last Olympic meeting of these nations’ best players for a long while if the NHL keeps players out of the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, forcing the rivalry to move to a World Cup or world championship.
The Americans still haven’t won Olympic gold since the Miracle on Ice in a drought that will be at 38 years by the next Olympics, no matter who’s wearing the U.S. uniform there.
“I think it was maybe a little too perimeter and not much traffic in front of their net,” U.S. forward David Backes said. “Kudos to them for keeping us to the outside, but we’ve got to find ways to get to the inside and make things happens.”
For all the talent and high stakes on the ice, the Bolshoy wasn’t exactly rocking for the game, with the predominantly Russian crowd apparently struggling to decide whom to root against.
The scoreless first period was still fast and exciting, with Quick stopping 16 Canadian shots. Crosby shook off his early-tournament struggles and played at a breakneck pace, while the American forwards generated numerous chances on pure speed.