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Gold-medal game awaits winner of U.S. vs. Canada

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Gold-medal game awaits winner of U.S. vs. Canada
Canada vs. United States

CANADA vs. UNITED STATES

When: Friday, Noon ET (NBCSN, CBC)

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome

What's at stake: Unlike the 2010 Vancouver Olympics or the games in Salt Lake City eight years earlier, no gold medal will be awarded to the winner Friday between the United States and Canada. The victor will still have one more hill to climb, advancing to the gold-medal game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics on Sunday. The losing country will be faced with the scenario of leaving Russia with bronze at best, and perhaps nothing at all.

Canada: This was always going to be the game where we found out what this Canadian team is truly made of, but it's been made all the more intriguing by the defending champs' difficulties in pulling away from countries like Norway during group play and, most recently, Latvia in the quarterfinals. To be fair, Canada put on a shooting gallery in the latter game and could easily have won by half a dozen if not for the brilliance in net by Latvia, but it took a late power-play goal by Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber to pull out a too-close-for-comfort 2-1 win and avoid a shocking upset.

Canada lost a key forward during the game Wednesday in New York Islanders center John Tavares, who is out for the season with a knee injury. That means Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene slots back in between Rick Nash of the New York Rangers and Patrick Sharp of the Chicago Blackhawks on a fourth line that has been one of Canada's best. Weber and Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty have spearheaded the offense to this point from the blue line; seven of the Canadians' 13 goals have come from defensemen.

"Obviously, we play against them in North America, so we're familiar with those guys," Weber told the IIHF website about the Americans. "It’s going to be a great game. They've played a great Olympic tournament so far, and it's going to be exciting."

United States: Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick started three of the Americans' first four games in this tournament, so there was little surprise Thursday when the official announcement was made that Quick will start against Canada and Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price. The starters from the 2010 gold-medal game, the Buffalo Sabres' Ryan Miller for the U.S. and the Vancouver Canucks' Roberto Luongo for Canada, will be backups this time.

The U.S. has averaged nearly five goals per game to this point (19 non-shootout goals, or 4.75 per game), but will face its toughest test in a Canadian defense that can protect in its own end as well as step up in the offense to score goals. The Americans have only trailed once in Sochi, by a goal for a brief time in the second period against Russia, and it would behoove them to score first against the Canadians instead of having to play from behind as they did in Vancouver.

"I mean it's a nice chance for some redemption," said Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, who scored the last-minute goal to force overtime in 2010. "It's not going to be an easy game, we know how good they are. The game when these two teams meet, it brings out the best in everyone and it always makes for a good game. We know how hard it's going to be. We have to make sure we're ready to play."

What's next: The Canada-USA winner faces Sweden for the gold on Sunday after the Swedes took care of Finland, 2-1, in the first semifinal. The Canada-USA loser faces Finland for bronze on Saturday.

Canada
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
22 J. Benn DAL 6'2" 210 7/18/1989 Victoria, BC
37 P. Bergeron BOS 6'2" 194 7/24/1985 Ancienne-Lorette, QC
77 J. Carter LAK 6'4" 212 1/1/1985 London, ON
87 S. Crosby PIT 5'11" 200 8/7/1987 Cole Harbour, NS
9 M. Duchene COL 5'11" 200 1/16/1991 Haliburton, ON
15 R. Getzlaf ANA 6'4" 221 5/1/1985 Regina, SK
14 C. Kunitz PIT 6'0" 195 9/16/1979 Regina, SK
12 P. Marleau SJS 6'2" 220 9/15/1979 Aneroid, SK
61 R. Nash NYR 6'4" 213 6/16/1984 Brampton, ON
24 C. Perry ANA 6'3" 212 5/16/1985 Peterborough, ON
10 P. Sharp CHI 6'1" 199 12/27/1981 Winnipeg, MB
26 M. St. Louis TBL 5'8" 180 6/18/1975 Laval, QC
20 J. Tavares NYI 6'1" 205 9/20/1990 Mississauga, ON
16 J. Toews CHI 6'2" 208 4/29/1988 Winnipeg, MB
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
19 J. Bouwmeester STL 6'4" 212 9/27/1983 Edmonton, AB
8 D. Doughty LAK 6'1" 213 12/8/1989 London, ON
5 D. Hamhuis VAN 6'1" 209 12/13/1982 Smithers, BC
2 D. Keith CHI 6'1" 200 7/16/1983 Winnpeg, MB
27 A. Pietrangelo STL 6'3" 201 1/18/1990 King City, ON
76 P. Subban MTL 6'0" 217 5/13/1989 Toronto, ON
44 M. Vlasic SJS 6'1" 205 5/30/1987 Montreal, QC
6 S. Weber NSH 6'4" 233 8/14/1985 Sicamous, BC
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
1 R. Luongo VAN 6'3" 217 4/4/1979 Montreal, QC
31 C. Price MTL 6'3" 212 8/16/1987 Anahim Lake, BC
41 M. Smith PHX 6'4" 215 3/22/1982 Kingston, ON
United States
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
42 D. Backes STL 6'3" 221 5/1/1984 Minneapolis, MN
23 D. Brown LAK 6'0" 212 11/4/1984 Ithaca, NY
24 R. Callahan NYR 5'11" 180 3/21/1985 Rochester, NY
88 P. Kane CHI 5'11" 181 1/19/1988 Buffalo, NY
17 R. Kesler VAN 6'2" 202 8/31/1984 Livonia, MI
81 P. Kessel TOR 6'0" 202 10/2/1987 Madison, WI
74 T.J. Oshie STL 5'11" 189 12/23/1986 Warroad, MN
67 M. Pacioretty MTL 6'2" 219 11/20/1988 New Canaan, CT
9 Z. Parise MIN 5'11" 190 7/28/1984 Minneapolis, MN
8 J. Pavelski SJS 5'11" 190 7/11/1984 Plover, WI
26 P. Stastny COL 6'0" 205 12/27/1985 Quebec City, QC, CAN
12 D. Stepan NYR 6'0" 196 6/18/1990 Hastings, MN
21 J. van Riemsdyk TOR 6'3" 200 5/4/1989 Middletown, NJ
28 B. Wheeler WPG 6'5" 205 8/31/1986 Robbinsdale, MN
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
4 J. Carlson WSH 6'3" 212 1/10/1990 Colonia, NJ
72 J. Faulk CAR 6'0" 215 3/20/1992 South St. Paul, MN
3 C. Fowler ANA 6'1" 196 3/5/1991 Farmington Hills, MI
7 P. Martin PIT 6'1" 200 3/5/1981 Elk River, MN
27 R. McDonagh NYR 6'1" 213 6/13/1989 St. Paul, MN
44 B. Orpik PIT 6'2" 219 9/26/1980 Amherst, NY
22 K. Shattenkirk STL 5'11" 207 1/29/1989 Greenwich, CT
20 R. Suter MIN 6'1" 198 1/21/1985 Madison, WI
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
35 J. Howard DET 6'0" 218 3/26/1984 Syracuse, NY
39 R. Miller BUF 6'2" 175 7/17/1980 East Lansing, MI
32 J. Quick LAK 6'1" 218 1/21/1986 Milford, CT