LEKSAND, Sweden -- Craig Hartsburg acknowledged he knew little of Carey Price before Canada's selection camp began earlier this month.
But Hartsburg, the coach of Canada at the 2007 world junior hockey championship, knows a confident netminder when he sees one. And, most importantly, Price has started to repay the confidence his coach put in him when he was named Canada's starter.
Price will be back between the pipes today against the United States after Canada emerged with a 2-0 victory against host Sweden at Ejendals Arena in this picturesque town a few hours drive north of Stockholm.
"He was following the puck and not flopping or diving," Hartsburg said. "He moved the puck well and gave up few rebounds. I think he has been getting better and better in this whole process."
Price, the fifth pick overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2005, stopped all 31 Sweden shots that reached the net. It was not an easy assignment, given that for two periods, the fans at the end of the rink stood behind Price and led the way with chants, not unlike the norm at European soccer matches.
"That was really cool," said Price, who has one shutout this season with the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League.
"That kind of thing keeps me in the game. I felt good and it was nice to get a shutout, but I don't really care about that. We won."
Price was especially sharp in the second period, stopping Patric Hornqvist twice at point-blank range and later thwarting Linus Omark, who sneaked in behind the defence for a great scoring chance. Those saves came with Canada holding on to a 1-0 lead.
Price spearheaded Canada's 13th consecutive win at the world junior, dating to the 2004 final when it lost to the U.S.
Defenceman Luc Bourdon, one of 11 veterans from the club that won gold last winter in Vancouver, and Brad Marchand scored. Captain Kris Letang had two assists.
Neither Price nor Leland Irving, Canada's other goaltender, made a strong statement in the selection camp. But Price now appears to have stepped it up.
"Absolutely," said Jonathan Toews, sporting a gash under his nose that was closed with four stitches. "When he plays like that, you feel good as a team and it lets you do things out there. Pricer was great and at times he stood on his head."