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U.S. hopes to make it two in a row

Thursday, 02.18.2010 / 10:59 AM ET / News
By Dan Rosen
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U.S. hopes to make it two in a row
USA (1-0-0-0, 3 points) vs. Norway (0-0-1-0, 0 points)

What to watch: For Norway, all eyes will be on goalie Pal Grotnes, who was brilliant for two periods of the Canada game before leaving with an injury, believed to be leg cramps. If Grotnes is able to go, as he believes he will be, the Norwegians have a puncher's chance. If not, it could be a long afternoon for the Europeans.

For the United States, it will be interesting to see where their chemistry experiment stands. Team USA has only been together for three days and is still trying to find its way when it comes to line combinations and the like. Will a full day of practice set the team right? We should find out early in this game.

Last game: USA beat Switzerland, 3-1; Norway was defeated by Russia, 8.-0.

TEAM REPORTS

Norway: The Norwegians threw a scare into the Canadians for a period on Tuesday by playing a passive forecheck that closed down the neutral zone and blunted Canada's speed. Clearly, they will try to do the same against the Americans. But, such a defense-first style only works if you have a credible ability to counter-attack.

"We'd hoped for the first goal to have a chance in this game," Norwegian coach Roy Johanson said after the Canada loss. "It was a long third period for us."

The Norwegians have not shown that yet in this tournament, although Mats Zuccarello Aasen and Mads Hansen appear to be their most dangerous forwards after the Canada game.

USA: The American fourth line was the team's most dangerous in Tuesday's game. Anaheim's Bobby Ryan scored the game-opening goal in the final minute of the first period to settle down the Americans. Dave Backes of the St. Louis Blues scored on a beautiful end-to-end rush. Ryan Malone, meanwhile, scored on a power-play put back. That means the Americans have no goals yet from their top-six forwards. But, the top trio of Zach Parise, Peter Statsny and Pat Kane did manage a full-third of Team USA's 24 shots. The Americans will also turn back to goalie Ryan Miller, who played very well in the game against Switzerland, despite intermittent work.

"I thought Ryan made the saves we needed him to make," said Wilson.

Total NHL players in game: Norway: 0. USA: 23

Puck drop: Don't expect the Americans to take the Norwegians lightly, despite the lopsided scoreline in Norway's game against Canada. The Americans know they need to be hitting on all cylinders come Saturday's showdown against Canada. Norway provides the perfect opportunity to get scorers healthy in a hurry.

"This is the first 60 minutes that these guys have played together and, with that yardstick, I'm pleased with the game," American GM Brian Burke said. "Some of these guys barely know each other. You're not going to get the reading off of each other that you get from units that play together on a regular basis. You're not going to see that, not early in the tournament anyway."

NHL.com predicts: The Americans find their offensive groove in this game. They don't have the firepower of the Canadians, so they may not put up an eight-spot like their neighbors to the North. But, Team USA will win going away, with the top line driving the bus.



SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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