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U.S. seeks two in a row

Langenbrunner, Parise lead USA vs. Norway (Thurs., 3 p.m. ET)

Thursday, 02.18.2010 / 10:33 AM ET / News
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U.S. seeks 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.  

-- Shawn P. Roarke

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
L. Stempniak 55 15 25 6 40
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
A. Henrique 53 18 18 14 36
K. Palmieri 55 20 15 3 35
T. Zajac 47 8 18 7 26
D. Schlemko 47 6 9 -8 15
A. Larsson 55 2 11 12 13
D. Severson 51 1 12 -1 13
A. Greene 55 4 6 2 10
J. Josefson 44 3 7 -14 10
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 24 16 6 .930 2.01
K. Kinkaid 3 5 1 .909 2.52
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