After a taking a 2-0 lead in the first period, Malcolm Subban (36 saves) was the story the rest of the way for Team Canada as they edged Team USA 2-1 and moved to 3-0 on the tournament.
That’s more like it.
Canada played probably their most complete period of the tournament thus far and were able to neutralize most of the American forechecks as well as the USA’s active defense. Trouba has been able to sneak in from the point to throw a couple of slapshots on net but aside from that, Team Canada has been pretty aware of what the US is trying to do out there.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored Canada’s first goal with a quick wrister from the slot. A faceoff win, a couple of crisp offensive zone passes and the Americans overplaying the puck defensively were the keys in the build up to the RNH tally.
The second goal went to Ryan Strome after a Ritchie wraparound found its way to his stick for the near tap-in. Canada’s forecheck led to a turnover in the offensive zone and Strome was the beneficiary of the hard work down low.
Not much to report in the second. It was a tight checking period a no goals were scored but we did get to see some flashes of Nate MacKinnon and his potential if he were given enough icetime to make an impact.
Drouin looked fantastic once again. I don’t catch many QMJHL games but I’ve definitely been sold on his potential as a lottery pick in the 2013 Draft.
As far as goals go, Jacob Trouba’s powerplay marker was the only goal and it was scored in transition on a 4-on-2 after Canada failed to capitalize on a 2-on-1 the other way. I don’t envy Subban having to try and predict what would happen with that puck as it was tipped all over the place.
The period on the whole was rife with penalties and Canada’s powerplay didn’t look overly threatening. Passes weren’t nearly crisp enough and Ryan Murphy once again passed up a great opportunity for a shot only to make a less than inspiring pass. At this point, Harrington and Reinhart are the only two defensemen I would least like to see on the ice during a powerplay than Murphy. He’s a better offensive defenseman than he’s shown this tournament and his defensive lapses at 5-on-5 are infuriating.
Tyler Biggs played a Tyler Biggs game in limited icetime. He spent more time on the penaltykill than he does with the Oshawa Generals and was fine in the role. His forecheck game was good and he was a little shot happy, avoiding having the puck on his stick for more than a couple of seconds at a time. Biggs was defensively sound as he almost always is. Not spectacular but effective.
Morgan Rielly made consistently smart decisions with the puck and finished up at +1 on the day. It was a small play, but on Canada’s 5 on 3 late in the third, a puck nearly squirted free in the neutral zone for an American break and Rielly laid out nicely to divert the puck to a teammate and away from danger.
So things went more or less to script with Canada and Russia facing off tomorrow morning at 9:00am EST for first in the division. Assuming Slovakia can beat the Germans later today, the US will have to beat Slovakia tomorrow morning to make it through to the medal round. Hopefully they’re able to get up for that game after a pair of pretty deflating losses.