When Team Canada and Team USA first met this tournament, it was their very first game of the preliminaries. Neither had their full roster yet, and neither knew just what was in store for them.
Still, Canada took the game by a dominating 5-1 score. Patrick Maroon may have opened the scoring just under five minutes into the game, but it didn’t take even 30 seconds for Taylor Hall to respond. Following in his footsteps were Brendan Gallagher, Matt Duchene, Boone Jenner, and Brad Marchand, as Canada outshot the States 33-25 and Cam Talbot came away with a 96.00 SV%.
Today, they meet again: in the semifinals, and for the right to compete for gold tomorrow against Finland. Canada wants to defend it; the U.S. wants to improve on their bronze medal performance from last year. The puck drops at 11:15 a.m.
Team vs. Team
|Team||Record||Goals For||Goals Against||Shots on Goal||PP%||PK%||PIM||SV%|
Looking through the stats over seven round robin games and one playoff game so far, this really shouldn’t even be a contest. Canada trounces the States across the board. This started from as early as their first game against one another, but the gap hasn’t narrowed at all. Canada is better at attacking and defending, has the better goaltending, and its special teams eclipse the U.S.’, all while taking substantially fewer penalties to boot.
In the quarterfinals, the Canadians demolished Sweden; the Americans relied on a shootout win to get past the Czechs.
|Team||Goals||Assists||Points||Shots on Goal||PIM||Average TOI||SV%|
|Canada||Taylor Hall (6)||Connor McDavid (7)||Derick Brassard
Mark Stone (10)
|Taylor Hall (24)||Brendan Gallagher (10)||D: Morgan Rielly (19:37)
F: Matt Duchene (17:04)
|Calvin Pickard (97.14%)|
|USA||Auston Matthews (5)||Dylan Larkin
Frank Vatrano (5)
|Auston Matthews (8)||Dylan Larkin (26)||Patrick Maroon (12)||D: Noah Hanifin (20:32)
F: Dylan Larkin (18:31)
|Keith Kinkaid (90.29%)|
While everyone save for Michael Matheson is an NHLer on Team Canada, the Americans have six non-NHLers on their roster. Five played in the NCAA this past season, and then there’s Matthews, who played in Switzerland and is almost certainly going to go first overall in the upcoming draft. He was also the only player to score for the Americans in their quarterfinal against the Czechs.
Canada’s depth is once again more prevalent here, as they have mostly different names across the board, Hall’s scoring and shots on net aside. The States, meanwhile, appear to lean heavily on both Matthews and Larkin.
Chances are certainly pointing in Canada’s favour to be playing for gold, but of course, the actual game still has to be played.