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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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80