In an incredibly intense, fast-paced game, Team USA pulled off a thrilling 5-3 upset of Canada tonight in Vancouver, due in large part to steady work by Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Suter. Suter played 21:27 in a variety of situations (2nd behind Jack Johnson), and recorded two assists on the night. The defense played a critical role in the win, as Canada dominated most of the action and outshot the US 45-23 on the night.
Ryan Miller was simply outstanding in goal. At the other end of the ice, Martin Brodeur did not have a strong outing. On the second American goal, scored by Brian Rafalski, Brodeur took a baseball-style swing at a puck that was dumped into the zone, leading to a turnover to the US and leaving Brodeur in poor position to make a play on the ensuing shot. Brodeur made a couple other turnovers as well playing the puck, perhaps enjoying the Olympic-style rules that give goalies free rein to work behind the goal-line (there is no trapezoid, as there is in the NHL).
Shea Weber had a strong night for Canada, firing four shots on goal and tallying one assist. Weber now has the most shots among the Nashville Predators at the Olympics, but Suter leads in scoring with four assists.
This game was all about constant Canadian pressure, with the Americans scrambling to keep the play towards the outside of the zone, and pushing the play up-ice whenever they could.That's where Suter stood out for Team USA; he was consistently keeping good body position between the Canadian attackers and his net, including a few physical confrontations with Sidney Crosby that Suter got the better of.
Even the empty-net goal by Ryan Kesler to close out the scoring was a gritty effort, requiring a dive at the puck and a one-handed swipe with his stick to bat it into the net.
As a result of the loss, Canada is locked into the #6 seed of the Olympic hockey bracket, and will face Germany (#11) on Tuesday. Team USA's position can still depend on tonight's outcome between Finland and Sweden.