TORONTO -- It was more difficult than many imagined, but Team Canada is champion of the World Cup of Hockey 2016.
Brad Marchand scored a shorthanded goal with 44 seconds left, after Patrice Bergeron tied the game with 2:53 to go, to give Team Canada a 2-1 win against Team Europe at Air Canada Centre on Thursday.
"They were tough to play against and they tested us big time," said Team Canada captain Sidney Crosby, who was named MVP and led the tournament with 10 points.
Marchand was one of Crosby's wings, and Bergeron was the other. They combined for 25 points in six games.
"In the biggest moments, they're better," Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said of the line. "They can't help themselves. They're addicted to winning."
Marchand won this game with his fifth goal of the tournament, but teammate Jonathan Toews did much of the work to make it possible.
"[Toews] made a great play to open up a lot of space, and I just wanted to get a shot on net, and luckily the puck went in the net," Marchand said.
Toews said it was all Marchand on the game-winner.
"It was kind of a momentary thing where you take a chance," Toews said. "I dropped him the puck and he made a [heck] of a play."
Bergeron scored on a power play with a spectacular deflection to foil a brilliant display by Team Europe goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who made 32 saves.
"World-class hand-eye coordination," said Team Europe coach Ralph Krueger, discussing the torso-high knockdown of the puck by Bergeron, who was standing between the faceoff circles.
Canada has won 16 straight games in best-on-best competition. Its last loss was to the United States during pool play at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
Defenseman Zdeno Chara scored for Team Europe, but the goal could not get it to the finish line and force Game 3 on Saturday.
"It's a tough loss because we were able to push them all the way to the limits and it was a really close game," Chara said.
Team Canada won Game 1 of the best-of-3 final 3-1 on Tuesday.
Price, who has won 16 straight games for Canada, dating to the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship, made 32 saves Thursday. He allowed seven goals in six World Cup games.
Goal of the game: With overtime looming, Marchand exploited some defensive uncertainty for the winning goal. Three Team Europe players were back, but Toews drew two to him and then launched a deft backhand pass onto the stick of onrushing Marchand that caught the defenders flat-footed. From there, Marchand took over, snapping a quick shot Halak could not react to in time.
Saves of the game: In a back-to-back sequence during a Team Canada power play, Price turned aside shorthanded breakaways by Tobias Rieder and Marian Hossa to prevent Team Europe from extending its 1-0 lead.
Unsung moment of the game: Marchand was in position to score the game-winning goal because Price made his best save of the game 25 seconds earlier, denying Hossa from the slot on a dangerous one-timer during the Team Europe power play.
Highlight of the game: Chara gave Team Europe its first lead of the final at 6:26 of the first period with a beautiful goal. Taking a pass from Frans Nielsen, Chara drifted into the faceoff circle before taking a wrist shot that found a hole between Price's shoulder and the post.
They said it
"It was always one shot away. It's always, 'Who wants to be that guy?' And there's so many guys in this dressing room that want to be in that position. We have so much talent in this dressing room that we knew all we needed was one bounce to go our way." -- Team Canada forward Bergeron on its mindset in the third period
"We had a lot of fun. It was a special group, and it's something that is one thing that I am for certain, that this is going to stay with us for a long, long time." -- Team Europe captain Anze Kopitar
"It's tough to describe when you're standing on the blue line, you're looking around, you see your family in the crowd and how proud everybody is in the whole arena. When you watch that flag go up and all these emotions are going through your head and you're representing your country and your team just had success and won for your country, you know, that's something that you can't describe. It's an incredible feeling. Again, I'm a bit lost for words right now." -- Team Canada forward Brad Marchand
Need to know
It took Team Canada until 5:59 of the first period to get its first shot on goal, its longest stretch to start a game in the tournament. Team Canada went 3:06 without a shot to start the game against Team USA in the preliminary round. … The first intermission was the first time in the tournament Team Canada ended a period trailing a game. … Team Europe was the first team to hold a team from Canada without a goal for two periods since Russia shut it out in the quarterfinals of the 2006 Torino Olympics.