USA vs. Canada: the biggest rivalry in international hockey today. One team will be one step away from gold and the other will have to fight for bronze on Saturday.
By the way, if you still don’t think this game is a big deal and you forgot why this matchup in particular is such an important game, take a trip down memory lane and remember this heartbreaking play against the USA in 2010.
Yep. Brian Rafalski let his man walk into the slot for a goal opportunity in overtime. His man happened to be Sidney Crosby, and Ryan Miller could do nothing to stop history from being made. Four years later, the United States has a chance to avenge that loss. Absence does not make the heart grow fonder.
On paper, Canada is the better team. With names like Crosby, Toews, St. Louis, Weber, Nash and Perry, the Canadians have to be happy with their lineup. General manager Steve Yzerman had a boatload of talent to choose his team from and the final result was a scary All-Star team.
However, the Americans have put together a squad that has speed, depth and goal scoring that can take out anyone. If you take out the preliminary game against Russia, Team USA has outscored its opponents 17-4 in this Olympic tournament. The Canadians, by comparison have only outscored one opponent by more than two goals, and they needed a Shea Weber slapshot in the final minutes to get past Latvia in the quarterfinals. The Americans have played a better tournament so far, and if Canada doesn’t find chemistry very soon, the United States will be playing in its second-straight gold medal game.
The problem with Canada so far in this tournament is how it is built. The Americans have built a great team that has four solid and purposeful lines. The Canadians are a team of first liners, and it just feels like they haven’t figured each other out yet. Weber looks to be the strongest player on the team, while Team Canada Captain Sidney Crosby still hasn’t scored a goal in Sochi yet. Canada has the talent to win, but the Americans have played better so far.
Prediction: USA wins 4-2, final goal on an empty net clincher.
Here is your pregame pump up video. Take it away, Kurt Russell.