They don't have just one scoring line or a group of five or six players that Steve Spott can call on when they need a goal; it's a well-structured team that has offensive firepower up and down the lineup. Spott rolls four lines and likes to get them all involved, and in scoring 15 goals in their first two games of this World Junior, it was an open invitation.
But even with three solid wins in the bag and a bird's-eye view of the medal round, the Canadians know they'll need to be better -- and they are getting a major piece of their team back for tomorrow's game against Russia.
Boone Jenner was suspended for a pre-tournament hit on Swedish defenseman Jesper Pettersson that resulted in a dislocated shoulder and broken wrist. Pettersson was ruled out for the entire tournament and it only added to a pile of significant injuries for the Swedes, who were outraged at what they deemed a dangerous hit by Jenner.
Team USA and Canada locked horns in yet another terrific hockey game earlier today in Ufa, Russia, with the Canadians holding on for a 2-1 win that punches their ticket to the medal round.
John Gibson was excellent in net for the United States, as was Malcolm Subban for Canada. Both players were honored as the players of the game and Subban did his best work in the third period, as the Americans pushed for the tying goal.
Steve Mears and EJ Hradek called the game on the NHL Network and offered up their thoughts post-game.
It was a bad movie that the United States didn't want to see twice in three days.
After playing a relatively sound game against Russia and struggling to find the back of the net, a similar storyline unfolded in a pivotal preliminary game today with Canada. Team USA got the fast start it needed and generated offensive chances, but was stymied by Malcom Subban who was terrific in net for the Canadians.
Canada picked up a 2-1 win in Ufa that guarantees a spot in the medal round, while the U.S. finds itself in a "do or die" scenario tomorrow against Slovakia. A win over the Slovaks sends Team USA to the medal round and avoiding the relegation bracket, which would be devastating after putting three strong games together (to this point).
Jacob Trouba scored the lone goal for Team USA on the power play in the third period, a goal that cut Canada's lead to one and energized the American bench. The U.S. had to kill of a full two-minute 5-on-3 in the closing five minutes, but got a power play of its own with 1:36 left, the goaltender pulled, and a prime chance to tie the game.
Subban was excellent as Team USA put on its best push. Seth Jones, Trouba and Alex Galchenyuk were firing pucks toward the net but couldn't get one across the goal line.
Phil Housley has been very consistent in keeping his lineup unchanged since the start of the tournament, and it appears that trend will continue.
Team USA released its lines for today's game against Canada a short while ago and there are no changes from games with Germany and Russia earlier in the week. Since adding Pat Sieloff to the roster and sending Matt Grzelcyk back to the U.S. as the last cut, the team has skated in the same lines and pairs throughout.
The results have been there, despite falling 2-1 to the Russians on Friday. Eight different players scored goals for Team USA against Germany and the team put 42 shots and several quality chances on net against Russia, but Andrei Makarov was sensational between the pipes.
One thing that needs to get going is the U.S. power play, which failed to capitalize on numerous careless penalties by Russia. A big key for the man advantage unit is to get pucks to the net and let the big-bodied forwards do their job in the shooting lanes; we saw a lot of JT Miller and Sean Kuraly around the cage and I suspect the same today against Canada.
With Malcolm Subban struggling at times in the Canadian net, making life miserable for him is going to be a focal point for the Americans. Click the "full story" button below for the full Team USA lineup vs. Canada.
We're less than eight hours away from rekindling one of the greatest rivalries in international hockey: the United States versus Canada.
I remember years ago when this matchup was one (as an American) you would look at with fear and just hope that it was over quickly. But with a USA Hockey resurgence and new waves of star players being developed in the U.S., there's a brand new attitude to it.
The next chapter gets under way at 4:30 a.m. ET and will air live on the NHL Network, and there's a lot at stake. Team USA needs a win to feel better about itself heading into the medal round, and Canada is battling it out with Russia to win the group.
Some of the best U.S. vs. Canada games in recent memory took place in the calendar year 2010, beginning with John Carlson's overtime, gold medal winner at the World Junior in Saskatoon. In this post, we'll take you through two of the more memorable World Junior matchups between these border rivals -- both from the same tournament.
In a tournament-opening 8-0 win over the Germans on Thursday, we saw Team USA's speed and transition game overwhelm an undermanned team.
The next day against Russia, we saw them meet their match.
U.S. head coach Phil Housley liked a lot of what he saw in the Germany game but he also knew his team would need to find another gear for its second game. The Russians didn't come out with the quick right hook many thought they would, but once the game got settled, they were locked in an enthralling hockey chess match with the Americans.
Did Team USA play well enough to win the game? Those arguments are always hard to settle, simply because they lost the game. But there were enough indications in a hard-fought 2-1 loss to Russia that proved the Americans have what it takes to make it out of their group and into the medal round -- provided they continue to play their style.
And that style has been a quick transition, north-to-south brand of hockey seemingly tailor-made for a talented group of defensemen and 13 fleet-footed forwards that love to play off the rush.
Looking ahead to tomorrow morning's game against Canada (4:30 a.m. ET, live on NHL Network), combating skill and speed with skill and speed is probably the best course of action for the U.S. side. Housley isn't going to alter his approach for one preliminary round game -- regardless of its significance -- and quite frankly, the Americans have a team that's deep enough to fight fire with fire against Canada.
Team USA's medal aspirations at this World Junior took a hit with a loss to Russia today. And man, was it ever a tough-luck loss.
Johnny Gaudreau sparked the Americans with a glorious scoring chance just seconds into the game, but Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov stretched across the crease to make a remarkable toe save. That seemed to be the story of the game, as the U.S. settled down after an early goal by Russia but couldn't get more than one puck behind Makarov in a 2-1 preliminary round loss.
It was opportunity after opportunity for Team USA but Makarov was solid, making the saves he had to make as well as some stops that changed the momentum of the game. After a while it seemed to frustrate the U.S. but they forged on, and had several chances to take a lead in the latter stages of the second period.
Albert Yarullin capitalized on a bad U.S. penalty in the opening minutes and ripped a one-timer past goaltender John Gibson for a 1-0 lead that energized the home crowd. But Team USA had a better response, and though it didn't score, settled into the hockey game and began to instill its style as the first period closed.
Some late-breaking news tonight courtesy of NHL Network's Rob Simpson on Twitter.
A few days after submitting a roster with six defensemen prior to Team USA's opening game vs. Germany, head coach Phil Housley and the USA Hockey management staff have finally decided on their roster. Simpson has reported that Patrick Sieloff, a Windsor Spitfires blueliner and Calgary Flames draft pick (2012), will be added to the U.S. roster as the seventh defenseman and is expected to dress later today vs. Russia.
With every exciting outcome, there is disappointment...and thy name is Matt Grzelcyk right now. The Boston University product will be heading home tomorrow, per Simpson, and will rejoin the Terriers in time for a Jan. 4 game at home.
Sieloff fits into the U.S. defense as a physical defensive defenseman who is known to be a good skater. If the penalty kill were to struggle, his presence gives Housley another option to turn to -- especially if Team USA dresses seven defensemen (and Simpson hints that may be the case).
Here is the official group of defensemen for the U.S.: Seth Jones, Jacob Trouba, Mike Reilly, Jake McCabe, Shayne Gostisbehere, Patrick Sieloff, Connor Murphy.
Team USA and Russia are about eight hours from dropping the puck on a pivotal preliminary round game, so make sure to join me once again on Twitter (@RobMixer) and catch all of our World Junior coverage right here on BlueJackets.com.