TORONTO — Sidney Crosby was stewing after each of the first two periods in Game 2 of the World Cup of Hockey finals.
When the final horn sounded, he was sporting an ear-to-ear smile.
Crosby set up Patrice Bergeron’s game-tying goal with 2:53 left in the third period on a power play that paved the way for Brad Marchand’s short-handed goal with 43.1 seconds remaining to be the winner, lifting Canada to a 2-1 victory over Team Europe and the World Cup of Hockey title Thursday night.
The Pittsburgh Penguins superstar was voted MVP of the best-on-best tournament, with a World Cup-high 10 points, just three months after winning his second Stanley Cup and earning the Conn Smythe as MVP of the playoffs.
“I don’t have to look too far to think about how tough it was a year ago starting out the season,” Crosby said. “I think I appreciate this a lot.”
Crosby had a slow start last year in the NHL before finishing strong.
Likewise, the Canadians struggled early in Game 2 before a furious and fantastic finish.
Crosby was part of a scrum at the end of the first period in which his helmet was knocked off near Europe’s net at the end of the first period.
After the second period ended, Crosby lingered on the ice to shout at Swiss defenceman Roman Josi.
Crosby was clearly frustrated at being kept off the scoresheet, playing with a pair of Boston Bruins, Marchand and Bergeron, who had combined for 22 points through the first five games.
They were shut out through two periods. In the final period, though, each of them played a tangible part in the comeback.
Crosby, as usual, led the way with his play at both ends of the rink.
The player once known as Sid the Kid is now 29, playing perhaps the best hockey of a career that has always been under the microscope.
“He’s dealing with the big burden of carrying so much responsibility in a very calm way,” said Europe coach Ralph Krueger, a Canadian, who was a consultant for coach Mike Babcock during the 2014 Olympics. “I think it takes a lot of experiences to be able to settle into that. I saw him the first time at the world championships in Latvia in 2006 when he rocked the world stage for the first time.”