Olympic Hockey Preview (and Gamethread): Canada-USA
The original version of this post had a bunch of American flags in it.
It was bound to happen. Four years after meeting in a legendary gold medal game in Vancouver, Team USA and Team Canada are back at it in Sochi. This time, the winner advances to play for the gold against Sweden; the loser heads to tomorrow's bronze medal game against Finland. Regardless of what happens, this will be the final 2014 Olympic game with Los Angeles Kings on both sides.
United States of America v Canada (Bolshoy Ice Dome)
Time: 9:00 AM
USA (projected) Lineup:
Injured: Paul Martin; Scratched: Derek Stepan, Jimmy Howard
Canada (projected) Lineup:
Injured: John Tavares; Scratched: P.K. Subban, Mike Smith
- We're all Slovenia fans, and for that reason, I'm keeping these notes unbiased. No promises for the gamethread though.
- Jonathan Quick is back in goal. He's had a solid Olympic campaign so far, stopping 72 of 77 shots (good for a .935 save percentage) in three games. Of course, he hasn't faced a team with as many threats as Canada, but he got some early-round practice against Russia's terrifying forward corps.
- Look at Dustin Brown! Scoring points and stuff! He's got three points in four games, including a goal against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. Among the regular top 12 forwards for the United States, he's tenth in ice time, so he's not being heavily utilized. But he's earned a place on a line with David Backes and Ryan Callahan, which is expected to get plenty of time today.
- Interesting fact I didn't know until this morning: only four players on Team USA have won a Stanley Cup. That would be Patrick Kane, Brooks Orpik... and, of course, Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick. This is an excellent chance for the rest of the guys to earn some hardware.
- Meanwhile, the list of Canadians with a Cup is three times longer. For obvious reasons, so is the list of Canadians with Olympic gold.
- Drew Doughty earned an assist on Wednesday, continuing his Canada point streak. That game-winning goal was scored by Shea Weber. Canada has been thankful for those two, as they have combined for seven of Canada's 13 goals.
- Only four Canada forwards have found the scoresheet in Sochi. Three of them have one goal apiece; the fourth is Jeff Carter, who notched a hat trick against Austria but hasn't found the net since. Not that he isn't trying; he leads the team with 17 shots.
- Paul Martin was a late injury scratch for the US, as he reportedly has a cast on his hand after an injury against the Czech Republic. The only injury for Canada is John Tavares, who sustained a serious knee injury in the Latvia game.
- In today's other semifinal matchup, Sweden defeated Finland 2-1.
- Both teams, of course, won their semifinal matchups in 2010. Canada eked out a 3-2 win against Slovakia, while the USA crushed Finland 6-1. The fact that I couldn't remember either game shows how much semifinals matter compared to the finals.
- After a long break, we have... ~Fun With Numbers~
TeamRecordGoals/gmGoals Against/gmPP%PK%Shots/gmShots Against/gmUSA3-1-0-05.01.527.3%90.0%30.023.8CAN3-1-0-03.250.7528.6%90.9%42.018.5
- Prediction: The game goes to overtime, and everyone loses it.