The Matchup: Team USA (2-0-0-0) will take on Team Canada (1-0-1-0). This is the first meeting between the two teams in the Vancouver Olympics. It will be the final game for both teams in the preliminary round.
The Last Team USA Game: The Americans carried a slim, two-goal lead into the third period against Norway on Thursday. But the Americans lit the lamp three times in the third period, including two ex-Devil Brian Rafalski, and the Americans cruised to a victory, 6-1. Zach Parise had two assists in the win. The victory gave Team USA six points, tops in their group.
The Last Team Canada Game: Team Canada looked to have their game against Switzerland complete, but the Swiss scored two goals and tied the game in the second period. After a scoreless third period and overtime, the teams went to a shootout. Pittsburgh Penguins’ captain Sydney Crosby scored in the fourth round of the shootout, and Devils goalie Martin Brodeur stopped all four Swiss shooters for the win.
The Last Team USA – Team Canada Game: Canada won the team’s last meeting, the gold medal game in Salt Lake City (2002), 5-2. The US hasn’t defeated the Canadians in international hockey since 1960.
Tonight’s Game: Currently, the US leads Group A, and with a win will clinch a bye in the quarterfinal round. But Canada will be the team’s most difficult challenge of the Olympics. Not only do both teams feature a star-studded lineup, but many of Canada’s players have prior experience playing with one another. Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer played in Anaheim, and that’s just one example. We haven’t seen a complete game from the US squad. They did put it together in the third period of the Norway game, and maybe they’ll continue to improve in tonight’s game. As the statistic above shows, Team USA hasn’t beat Canada since 1960. If they can win tonight, it would give this team a huge boost of confidence going into the elimination rounds.
Tonight’s game can be seen on MSNBC at 7:45 p.m.