This game could be the most important game of the tournament for Team Canada. A Win and they're into the Quarter Finals. A loss and who knows what could happen.
If Canada and the US go to OT/Shootout and Canada win they'll be tied with points, but Canada has a higher goal differential than the US so they would be placed in 1st. If Canada loses in any scenario disaster could be looming. There are a lot of teams in this tournament who are potential medal threats; Finland, Sweden, Russia, USA, Czech Republic, even Slovakia has a good enough team for an upset. If Canada loses to the US who knows what could happen from there on out.
Playing an extra game can be good because it gives more time to gel, however what will a loss do to the confidence of the team. Hopefully nothing, but that's not a guarantee.
Canada NEEDS to win today. There are too many variables with the other teams to rely on them losing or causing an upset. And I think Babcock has figured this out. He's taken Mike Richards and will be starting him with Crosby on the top line in today's game. Babcock tried a whole bunch of line combonations against the Swiss and didn't have a whole lot of luck. The only line that seems to be consistently clicking is of course the Shark line of Marleau, Heatley and Thornton.
There will be no question that Martin Brodeur is going to bring his A game today. Especially after letting in an easy goal against the Swiss which almost cost the game. It gave Switzerland confidence and they didn't let up from there on out. But Marty is smart enough to not let it happen again, especially against a team with the speed that the US has. Ryan Miller at the other end of the rink will be equal to Marty. Both goalies have the potential to steal the show and that's going to be one of the biggest deciding factors in today's game.
If Canada wants to walk away from this game with an automatic trip to the quarter finals they need to make something work on the PP. Right now they're ranked 5th with only 3 goals on 13 chances. The top is Finland whose gone 6 for 12. The US is 4th with a 2 for 8 PP. If we let the Americans work the PP like they can yet can't get ours going there is no way we will win this...at least no way we SHOULD win this. That being said, I think the Canadian players will step up and be MUCH better than they were against the Swiss team. It's going to be close but I'm saying a 4-3 Canada win.
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