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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 / 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

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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