Team USA earned a big win on Sunday that paid off in an even bigger way.
By beating Germany 3-0, the Americans punched their ticket to the quarterfinals behind a pair of first-period goals and a shutout by 19-year-old goaltender John Gibson.
Sitting first overall in the Helsinki group, the Americans now control their own destiny and can clinch top spot with a win over Slovakia on Tuesday.
Bobby Butler, Paul Stastny, and Stephen Gionta scored for the United States. Gibson, the MVP of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, received his second tournament start from head coach Joe Sacco after beating host Finland 4-1 in his opener.
From a Lightning standpoint, Nate Thompson registered one assist on the day and a plus-1 rating, while Bolts defenseman Matt Carle did not mark the score sheet, but did have a shot on goal.
Ranked second in the tournament in power play percentage before this game, the Americans worked the puck around effectively on their first man advantage. At 2:39, Butler, stationed in front, banged in the loose puck after Justin Faulk's center point blast went off his skate.
It then didn’t take long for the Americans to go up 2-0.
Defenseman Erik Johnson executed a nice rush to the net, and then fed the puck out front to Stastny, who forced the German goaltender to make a lunging save before putting the rebound in high at 4:53.
With 8:33 left in the third period, the Americans made it 3-0. Matt Hunwick let one fly from the left point, and Thompson put the rebound through to Gionta, who flung it into the open net.