It was a hard fought game between Canada and the USA this morning as they met in the preliminary round at the World Championships. Throughout the game, but particularly in the first and third periods the US team controlled the game over Canada. They were better on the fly as Canada continuously turned the puck over in the neutral zone and at the US blue line, which would send the US on odd-man rushes into the Canadian zone. It was only in the second period and late in the third that Canada looked like they deserved to be in the game at all as Canada had to continuously score to tie the game up. Now I’ve seen a number of people already trying to put the blame for this on Cam Ward and that is just ridiculous as he kept Canada in the game, keeping it close when we had no business being that close. The Americans outshot Canada 46-34, and those are just the shots that actually hit the net, not counting blocked shots, or shots that went wide, etc. We also have to consider who the goalie at the other end of the rink was for the Americans, it was Jimmy Howard. Howard is easily in the top 7 goalies in the NHL right now; probably even in the top 5, so the fact that Canada got 4 goals past him is really good.
What Canada Needs to Address
I think Canada’s biggest problem was the defensive play and the attempts to break into the offensive zone. Now while this may not be a huge problem against some of the less talented teams, like our next opponent France, if Canada continues to turn the puck over at the opposition’s blue line it will burn us like it did today. If we do it against a team like Russia or Finland or Sweden we could be in real trouble, and end up finding ourselves on the outside looking in if it happens in a game that isn’t in the preliminary round. Defensively, Canada has to make sure we don’t spread out too wide and leave the middle of the ice open. Canada got caught a couple of times in today’s game and it cost us at least once.
We will likely see Devan Dubnyk start on Monday against France. There were three unassisted goals in today’s game. This is the first time in since 2001 that the USA has beaten Canada at the World Championships. Canada is now 18-2 vs the USA at the tournament. Canada took Four penalties in today’s game.
USA – Jim SLATER, Jack JOHNSON (2), Patrick DWYER, Nate THOMPSON
Canada – John Tavares, Jeff Skinner, Evander Kane, Duncan Keith
Jim Slater gets player of the game for USA
John Tavares gets player of the game for Canada