WJC 2013: Team USA's lineup unchanged vs. Canada
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.
NOTE: The line charts listed on USAHockey.com and the IIHF's official website are slightly different. Jim Vesey is registered as the 13th forward on the USA Hockey site, while Mario Lucia occupies that same spot on the official IIHF roster. Our friend Chris Peters (United States of Hockey) says to roll with the latter, so we'll do that.
As of 3:30 a.m. ET, here is the Team USA lineup for today's game vs. Canada:
Johnny Gaudreau - JT Miller - Rocco Grimaldi
Alex Galchenyuk - Sean Kuraly - Riley Barber
Jim Vesey - Vince Trocheck - Tyler Biggs
Blake Pietila - Cole Bardreau - Ryan Hartman
Mike Reilly - Seth Jones
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jacob Trouba
Jake McCabe - Connor Murphy
Other pre-game notes:
-- TSN's Bob McKenzie reports a lineup change by Canada head coach Steve Spott: Nathan MacKinnon will move up from the fourth line to play with Jonathan Drouin (his teammate in Halifax) and Ryan Strome. Brett Ritchie will move down to the fourth line as part of the tweak.
-- Boone Jenner serves the final game of his three-game suspension today. He was suspended by the IIHF for a late hit against Swedish defenseman Jesper Pettersson in pre-tournament play. As a result of injuries suffered on the play, Pettersson was ruled out for the tournament.
-- Keep an eye on Mike Reilly today. He's been effective in his pairing with Jones and Housley has given him ample ice time, especially on the power play. Getting his shot through and being calculated with his pinches/jumps will be an important factor.
-- We're less than an hour away from the opening faceoff. Here's hoping we're about to witness another U.S. and Canada classic.
Photo courtesy: USA Hockey