Goalie braces for another assault

TERRY JONES, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:17 AM ET

HALIFAX -- The best thing to do, Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis says, is not to think about it.

It is intimidating enough for a nation such as Latvia to contemplate playing Canada.

But doing so in Canada? Against the No. 1 line of Rick Nash, Dany Heatley and Ryan Getzlaf?

"We've got to play all lines," said the 28-year-old former AHL goalie, who faced 49 shots in losing 4-0 to the U.S., on Friday night in their first game at the world hockey championship and must now contemplate a Canadian team which took 65 shots at Robert Kristin in the Slovenian nets earlier in the day.

"I think it will be over 50 again," he said.

Masalskis, in the grand tradition of Arturs Irbe, is a little Latvian netminder. The Americans spent the night running him in an exceptionally physical game.

"At one point it got pretty frustrating," he said. "What can you do?"

Does he expect the Canadians, especially with that big No. 1 line, to be in his grill most of the game, too.

"I think so. They come at the net so hard," he said.

Nash didn't disagree.

"If we go out there and use our size, there are not too many defences that can stop us," said Nash, the MVP of the tournament last year in Moscow. "On this line, we're all the same style of players. We're passers and finishers."

While Irbe managed a miracle 3-3 tie against Canada in 1997, Latvia faced the powerhouse at this tourney every spring from 2002-06, holding its own in losing 4-1, 6-1, 2-0 and 6-4, but getting bombed 11-0 as the championship host two seasons ago.


Videos

Photos