HELSINKI - Corey Perry lost 12 pounds when he came down with the flu just before he was supposed to catch his plane to Switzerland to join Team Canada.
It took him the entire round robin to recover, but Perry finally checked in to lead Canada to a 5-1 win over Belarus to finish first in the Helsinki pool in the last game before proceeding to the win-or-go-home game that is Thursday's quarterfinal against Slovakia.
"Obviously he played a very strong game today," said Brent Sutter of Perry scoring a goal and adding an assist and being very visible in the tough areas of the ice on his line with fellow Anaheim Ducks teammate Ryan Getzlaf and Winnipeg Jets' Evander Kane.
"Today was Corey's best game of the tournament. No question he'd been affected by that weight he lost. To get sick when he did, he lost a pike of weight and then had to travel over here. He still hasn't got all his weight back. We knew it was going to take him a week to 10 days to get some of it back. And that's what it took.
"We need that line to be good," added Sutter of the trio which had sputtered through much of the round robin.
"Perry and Getzlaf have won championships and gold medals."
Perry confirmed it was 12 pounds he lost causing a three day delay in joining the team in Zurich.
"I finally got some food in me," he said.
"I'm feeling a lot better.
"I'm protecting the puck a little more and my game down low is a lot more effective now."
Perry said he's confident the way this Canadian team has come together, they won't stumble on the quarterfinal game this year.
"We've been knocked out in the quarterfinals in the last couple of years, but if we go out and do the things that we have to do, we'll be okay," he said.
Ryan O'Reilly, who missed the previous game due to a lower body bruise, returned to the lineup and scored two goals in the game which began at noon locally.
"He needed a day or two," said Sutter. "He was 100% in this one."
O'Reilly said sitting out the game against Kazakhstan was the right move.
"We decided to be smart and rest and let it heal up," he said. "It felt good today."
O'Reilly gave the Canadians a 1-0 lead only two minutes into the game but Sergei Kostitsyn converted a pass from his brother Andre, both recent arrivals from the Nashville Predators, to even it up after the first period.
Balarus had gone a perfect 25 for 25 killing penalties when Perry popped their bubble midway through the second.
Perry then set up Getzlaf and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins followed with his fourth goal of the tournament on a power play as Andrei Kostitsyn was given five minutes for a hit from behind on Evander Kane to make it 4-1 after two. O'Reilly scored his second goal of the game early in the third.
Duncan Keith had two assists for Canada, his ninth and 10th of the tournament to give him 12 points for the round robin.
Both Luke Schenn and Marc Methot took five minute penalties in the third period. Neither qualified for automatic suspensions for the next game but both will be reviewed by the IIHF discipline committee.
Usually those decisions are made the following morning.
"We just wanted to play well and get ourselves [ready] for the quarterfinal," said Sutter.