World Cup of Hockey Canada v. USA: Game Review – Eyes on Isles

Team Canada was able to even the series against Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey with a comprehensive 5-2 win. It’s now 1-1 between theses two rivals as each have one more pre-tournament tilt before the real games start.
If you were new to the World Cup of Hockey and you watched this game, you’d think that the real tournament had already started. A total of 48 penalty minutes were handed out in this game.
All notions that this tournament didn’t mean anything to the players has gone out the window. Don’t just think this game is the exception to the rule. Yesterday 32 penalty minutes were awarded to these teams.
Then also consider today’s game between the Czech Republic and Russia. Milan Michalek got into it with Russia’s Alexei Emelin. The players care. These are exhibition games to a brand new tournament and the players are willing to throw down the gauntlets.
I commented in the pre-game report that John Tavares was being used in just about any scenario for Team Canada. Power-play, penalty kill, and 5-on-5. Because of this “lets just put him anywhere” approach, Tavares couldn’t really excel.
Tavares didn’t see an increase in his playing time overall, but saw a significant bump in his powerplay time. Going from 1:56 yesterday to 4:25 today. And it paid off.
Already on a goal for the night, Tavares was well open on the man advantage when the puck bounced off Bishop and onto the waiting stick of Tavares.
Oh, and remember how I said that Team Canada would be looking to get revenge on a Team USA, specifically Ryan Kesler, for that late hit on Weber? Well, Tavares delivered this crushing hit to the pesky American.
Tavares’ efforts (his two goals and seven shots) would earn him first-star honors for the night. Which is as close to a no-brainer as humanly possible for this game.
This was the second game in a home-and-home series in as many nights. The outcome could have gone either way as players strive to get back to mid-season form in September.
Canada won by a three-goal margin, and outshot the American’s again, this time by a margin of 38-23. But this is pre-tournament. The games mean nothing in round-robin play, they have no bearing on the finals, their results are flat out inconsequential.
Next: Expectations for John Tavares in 2016-17
We’ll see what happens on September 20th when these two teams face each other in a Group A round-robin match in Toronto. Will Canada be able to harness the hometown advantage? Or will the US show that pre-tournament was but a dress rehearsal for the real show?
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