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USA Faces Canada on Brink of Elimination

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

 

 


TORONTO - In the words of its own head coach, "Let's play the damn game."

On Tuesday, they will.

 

 

Hockey's two biggest international rivals will square off with a lot on the line when Canada and the United States meet in a round-robin game at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey (7 p.m. CT; ESPN).

If the United States does not defeat Canada, it will not qualify for the semifinal round.

To do so, the United States will have to find a way to contain a Canada offense that scored six goals in its World Cup opener against the Czech Republic while mustering some offense itself after it was shut out by Team Europe in its first game in Toronto.

With two days between its first and second games of the tournament, United States head coach John Tortorella said he's done waiting.

"Listen, we're playing against a good team, a really good team," Tortorella said after the U.S. practiced on Monday. "I can't wait and our players can't wait for this game to start.

"We've practiced enough. We've talked enough. We've gone through all that process. Let's play the damn game."

The United States has not scored in a best-on-best tournament over its last nine periods of competitive hockey, spanning back to its last two games of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"If we get shut out every game this tournament, then we can talk about it," Zach Parise said after the loss to Europe. "But we have to put it in. You look back at those games in Russia, unable to get one, and then unable to get one tonight. Yeah, we have to do a better job as forwards and as a group." Parise, who played on a line with center Joe Pavelski and right wing Blake Wheeler in the United States' first World Cup game, is expected to have a new center on the line in Ryan Kesler.

Defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and forward Kyle Palmieri, who were both healthy scratches against Team Europe, are expected to draw into the lineup, replacing Jack Johnson and Brandon Dubinsky.

"Kyle Palmieri has scored 30 goals in the league," Tortorella said. "I can play him in different situations up and down the lineup. Hopefully that will help us a little bit in situations in the game.

"But bottom line is we have some good players on our team, some people that can score, even changing the lineup here. The guys that are going to need to score for us have been in our lineup, and I expect a big game out of them tonight."

Here are the projected lineups:

United States

Zach Parise - Ryan Kesler - Blake Wheeler

Justin Abdelkader - Derek Stepan - Patrick Kane

James van Riemsdky - Joe Pavelski - T.J. Oshie

Max Pacioretty - David Backes - Kyle Palmieri

Ryan McDonagh - John Carlson

Ryan Suter - Matt Niskanen

Erik Johnson - Dustin Byfuglien

Jonathan Quick

Canada

Brad Marchand - Sidney Crosby - Patrice Bergeron

John Tavares - Ryan Getzlaf - Steven Stamkos

Logan Couture - Jonathan Toews - Corey Perry

Joe Thornton - Ryan O'Reilly- Matt Duchene

Marc-Edouard Valsic - Shea Weber

Jay Bouwmeester - Drew Doughty

Alex Pietrangelo - Brent Burns

Carey Price

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