SOCHI, Russia — Sidney Crosby again proved that he’s a big-time, big-game scorer.
Crosby, held without a goal in Canada’s first five games at the Sochi Olympics hockey tournament, scored on a breakaway in the second period of Sunday’s gold medal game against Sweden to cement Canada’s 3-0 victory at the Bolshoy Ice dome and clinch its second consecutive Olympic title.
Crosby scored the “golden goal” at Vancouver in 2010, scoring in overtime against the U.S. This time, Canada didn’t need to go to sudden-death play to become the first repeat men’s Olympic champion since the old Soviet Union teams won in 1984 and 1988.
Jonathan Toews scored in the first period — set up by Kings forward Jeff Carter — and Crosby extended the lead to 2-0 in the second. Chris Kunitz added an insurance goal in the third, after a giveaway by Sweden’s Daniel Sedin.
Goaltender Carey Price of the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens stopped 24 shots Sunday to earn his second straight shutout for Canada, which had thoroughly outplayed the U.S. in a 1-0 semifinal victory.
Nicklas Backstrom, a player for the Washington Capitals in the NHL who represented Sweden in its five victories on the way to the Olympic gold medal game, failed a drug test at the Sochi Games. He was removed from Sweden’s lineup Sunday before the final, which Canada won, 3-0.
Backstrom, 26, had tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a substance found in an allergy medication he has taken for seven years.
Sweden’s general manager, Tommy Boustedt, accused the International Olympic Committee of deliberately releasing the results of Backstrom’s test close to start of the gold medal game as a way to generate the most publicity, and undermining Sweden’s chances in the game.
“Our opinion is that the IOC has destroyed one of the greatest hockey days in Swedish history,” he said.
The IOC declined to comment on the case.
The NHL and the Capitals indicated in statements that Backstrom’s doping violation would not affect his status in the NHL because the substance he tested positive for is not considered a banned substance by the league. Athletes competing in the Olympics are subject to tougher anti-doping rules than those of the major professional leagues like the NHL.
Alexander Legkov led a Russian sweep of the men’s 50-kilometer cross-country race. He was followed by Maxim Vylegzhanin and Ilia Chernousov. It was the host nation’s first gold in the sport in Sochi. “This is priceless,” Legkov said. “It’s more valuable than my life.”
After struggling these last years, Alexander Zubkov set things right. He drove Russia to victory in the four-man sled, adding to his two-man title in Sochi. Steven Holcomb, the 2010 Olympic champ, won bronze to give the U.S. seven sliding medals in Sochi, tops among all countries. Oskars Melbardis of Latvia took the silver.