Canada vs USA, in Toronto with a chance to go 2-0 against a long time rival, what an exciting game to be had, one may have thought. But while the fast paced hockey from both sides excited the building and the livings rooms of Canadian fans, one team came out on top by a considerable landslide and no close and exciting game was to be had.
From the outside looking in you wouldn’t think this matchup was a David vs Goliath matchup. But as the puck dropped , it was apparent how superior Canada was to the John Tortarella coached Team USA.
Looking at USA’s point of view to start this one off, getting on the board first is what they needed to do and they did just that. Ryan McDonough scored 4:22 in to the first period to give team USA the lead and gave them an edge early on.
The early 1-0 lead sustained much needed momentum to kick things off, but it was a short lived edge. USA awoke the beast when they scored first and opened the flood gates to Canada’s attack.
Not long after, Matt Duchene wins a net front battle against Dustin Byfgulien to tie the game up at 1-1. A mere 14 seconds later, Corey Perry scores to give Canada a 2-1 lead.
In the blink of an eye, It’s a whole different hockey game. The pace of the game changed within 14 seconds and Canada’s dominance stemmed from there.
Later on, Duchene got on the board again to pot his second slick goal of the night and the meltdown begun for the Americans.
You know something pretty crazy has to be happening to hear Carey Price chants reign from the ACC. But NHL team allegiances are put aside when countries go head to head and Canada had the place rocking in the first period.
Things started to look like they were going out of hand when Canada headed to the power play as the period neared a conclusion, but as Corey Perry went off for tripping shortly in to the power play, we saw some 4 on 4 hockey with some of the best talents in the world. How cool would this tournament be in a 4 on 4 format?
The speedy forwards on Canada won the tough battles against USA’s size, reiterating that speed is what’s most valuable in this kind of toruannment, not the grit and Intangibles team USA staff members John Tortarealla and Brian Burke stand by. It was all Canada for the first period, pressuring USA hard in their own zone, capitalizing on odd man rushes and being defensively responsible and sound as a unit.
Team USA goaltender Jonathan Quick had a shaky start while only recording 3 saves on the first 6 shots he faced. It’s hard to blame him or anyone in that kind of situation, Canada is simply too much to handle.
USA had another power play opportunity when Patrice Bergeron went off the ice for delay of game. The power play could not sustain anything and even on man disadvantage Canada still found ways to disrupt USA’s attack and create scoring chances of their own. Last minute injury replacement Ryan O’Reilly brings a wealth of penalty kill experience to team Canada as one of the leagues best penalty killers. That’ll be an underrated asset down the road when Canada gets in to more meaningful games later in the tournament.
John Tavares uses some video game esque moves to set up Patrice Bergeron’s goal that put Canada up 4-1 midway through the period.
The Americans didn’t muster up enough counter Canada’s overwhelming attack and it became apparent early on they couldn’t catch up and erase the three goal deficient.
The period starts out with a boarding penalty called on Max Pacioretty, putting USA at even more of a disadvantage than they already were trailing 4-1. Canada always seemed to be on the power play, even in even strength situations. The pace was controlled by them, they were winning the battles, getting to the puck first and ultimately the better team in the final period. That’s not to say work doesn’t need to be done. Canada took their foot off the glass a little and let an easy one slip past Carey Price to bring the Americans within 2 with two minutes remaining in the period. Work needs to be done and one will think Canada’s play will reach an even higher level when tested by much higher quality teams.
Some love needs to be given to Carey Price. This guy is cool as a cucumber and has left no doubt that he’s the best goalie in the game, something that some may have put in to question entering the tournament after coming off a season ending injury. Price has done everything thus far that has been asked of him and more.
1) Why do you need Justin Abdelkader at this tournament? Seriously. It boggles my mind how his skill set and the calibre of player he is can be valued in a tournament like this. You don’t need guys that can stir the pot and rough up the opposing teams stars in a best on best skill tournament. Let alone the fact that he was selected to USA over Phil Kessel..
2) Matt Duchene scored 2 goals in his first 2:48 of ice time, just let that sink in.
3) Price needs to settle down on playing the puck. He prevented a clear cut icing on one occasion and generally he’s playing the puck far too often. It’s quite worrisome and risky for him to be playing the puck in some situations where Canada is under attack in their own zone.
Price trying to help the Americans score? pic.twitter.com/03AaTKvED6
— Stephanie (@myregularface) September 21, 2016
4) The depth that Canada has is insurmountable. Even with all these stars, the team takes very short shifts, has fresh legs on all the time with the luxury of four extremely talented lines. Hard to not pin Canada the favourite to win this all.