Team USA got off to a fast start in their tournament opening contest, throttling Germany 8-0 in a game that saw the American's receive goals from eight different players. Since that time, U.S.A. has seen their momentum halted in a pair of losses to two of the tournament favorites.
Friday the American's dropped their first game of the tournament to Russia 2-1. Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov and United States goaltender John Gibson stole the show, single highhandedly keeping each of their teams in the contest. In the end Makarov had the edge as he turned aside 41 of 42 shots from the U.S.A. in the victory.
Sunday saw a similar result from the U.S. as they once again fell by a 2-1 score, this time to Team Canada. The Canadians quickly built a 2-0 lead but the American's would bounce back late to cut the deficit to one. However, some untimely penalties eventually cost the United States as they attempted to make their comeback bid.
That leaves the American's in an do-or-die situation in their final pool play game against Slovakia. If the United States wins, they advance to the quarter-finals of the medal round. If they lose, they'll be sent to the relegation round for the second consecutive season.
The United States are the favorites in the game on paper, but the Slovaks have plenty of skill and put a scare into Canada earlier in the tournament. Slovakia also plays a stifling style of defense, which could prove tragic for a U.S. squad that has struggled to score the past two games.
The huge game will be broadcast live on the NHL Network Monday morning at 4:00 a.m. CST. You can also watch the live stream of the game on NHL.com.
Wisconsin defenseman Jake McCabe continues to be one of Team USA's more consistent performers. Named team captain before the tournament, McCabe saw himself paired up with superstar USA defenseman Seth Jones for the final two periods vs Canada in an effort to slow their high octane attack with premier prospects like the Edmonton Oilers Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
On today's line-chart, McCabe is paired up with his old partner, Connor Murphy of the Sarnia Sting (OHL). However, don't be surprised to see McCabe see plenty of ice time in a critical contest for the American's.
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