Friday, February 26, 2010

Bring it.

Sunday will be like Super Bowl Sunday around here, except that I'll actually care. Canada and the US are set to face off for the gold medal game, and the US is looking for some sort of revenge for 2002, where the Canadians beat us on home ice. Looking at the two teams' games today, I would say that the United States might have the upper hand.

The US handily dispatched Finland 6-1, with a massive onslaught in the first period. After Kipper pulled himself, Backstrom calmed the situation down, but the Finnish forwards could absolutely not produce. Ryan Miller was barely challenged at all on 18 shots, and his shutout streak continues at 108 minutes and some change - Tim Thomas allowed Finland's only goal. By the start of the 3rd period, you could tell that the Finnish forwards were just out there because they had to be. If they approach tomorrow's bronze medal game against Slovakia like the way they played today, then they're toast. It seems as though absolutely nothing can get through Miller.

Things can get through Roberto Luongo, though. Despite performing better in his starts than Martin Brodeur has performed in his, Luongo is beatable. He allowed two 3rd period goals in tonight's 3-2 win over Slovakia, and there's very little debate that both of them were easily saveable. As the game progressed, Luongo looked more unstable, although I'm not sure if that was just him or the fact that he wasn't getting much to do. The US will be firing shots at him left and right, so it'll help him to be on his toes and alert. Complacency is not Luongo's friend. We saw that in the playoffs last season. After his lights out performance against St. Louis, where he was unbeatable in almost every scenario, he suffered a few breakdowns and left the ice in tears when the Blackhawks took care of them.

Team USA has David Backes (and Erik Johnson, though he didn't play in the playoffs) looking to get a little revenge, and as much as it pains me to say this, Luongo needs to watch out for Kane. He's absolutely on fire after pundits criticized him for lackluster play, and he lit Luongo for two goals today.

The Americans cruised to their medal game birth today. The Canadians had to sit clinging to the edge of their seats, scared of a blown lead. The quality of opponents for the two teams has not been drastically different - neither team has had an easy road to the gold medal game - but one of the two has certainly made it look that way.


Garon said...

Obviously, I'm an American supporter, but I would say our route has been easier. I'd take Switzerland and Finland over Russia any day. I'd call Finland and Slovakia about a draw in difficulty, but Russia was one of the gold-medal game favorites. They just happened to not show up for the first period against Canada.

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