That changed when it mattered most.
Toews and Crosby both scored, while Carey Price made 24 saves to lead Team Canada to a 3-0 victory over Team Sweden to win their second straight Olympic gold medal in Sochi.
Chris Kunitz, whose selection was scrutinized throughout the tournament, also got his first goal of the tournament to ice it in the third.
Henrik Lundqvist made 33 saves for Sweden, who were unable to reclaim the gold they won in 2006 in Italy.
The Canadians controlled the play from start to finish, once again using a complete defensive effort to stifle the highly-skilled Swedes, who were without top centre Nicklas Backstrom in addition to Henrik Sedin and Henrik Zetterberg.
Toews got the Canadians on the board midway through the first period after a Swedish turnover led to a 3-on-2. Some good cycling work resulted in Jeff Carter getting a shot away from the boards, and Toews redirected it past Henrik Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead.
Then, it was Crosby’s turn.
Crosby, who scored the golden goal in Vancouver, stripped Jonathan Ericsson of the puck at the Canadian blue line and went in on a breakaway, going to his backhand and putting the puck just past Lundqvist’s outstretched leg to give the Canadians a 2-0 lead late in the second period.
Kunitz, Crosby’s wingman both for Canada and the Pittsburgh Penguins, iced it midway through the third period, picking up a Daniel Sedin turnover at the Swedish blue line and firing a perfectly-placed wrist shot over Lundqvist’s blocker and under the crossbar.
From there, Price took Canada home, making all the saves he needed to while showing no signs of cracking under the Olympic pressure.
Price, who was named the tournament’s top goaltender, allowed just three goals throughout the tournament, and he finished the Olympics with a shutout streak of 161:19.
Before the Olympics began, there were questions about whether or not this version of Team Canada could perform on the big ice surface, along with questions about their goaltending.
After all, they played ball hockey in a summer evaluation camp because insurance wouldn’t cover on-ice workouts.
While this game didn’t quite have the drama of the 2010 gold medal game, the end result was the same, erasing any doubt by playing a 200-foot game to give Canada their first Olympic gold outside North America since the 1952 Olympics in Oslo, Norway.
Though Canada was largely composed of players who played on the star-studded 2005 World Junior Hockey Championship team, there were shades of the 2007 tournament on Sunday, as Price and Toews led the way when the chips were down.
Their efforts, along with a complete team effort from top to bottom, allowed the Canadian men to follow their female counterparts to complete the double-double.
Honestly, what could be more Canadian than that?
Game Notes: Erik Karlsson was named the tournament’s top defenceman, while Phil Kessel took home top forward honours. … Karlsson and Kessel were also named to the Media All-Star Team, along with Price, Drew Doughty, Mikael Granlund, and the tournament’s most valuable player, Teemu Selanne. (IIHF Twitter) … Though it was initially reported as persistent migraine headaches, Backstrom was held out of the game after taking Claritin, which contains a banned substance.