Sochi Olympics musings (semifinals)

They dropped the puck on the semifinal game between the United States and Canada on Friday in Sochi, Russia, and a Kings game broke out. Jonathan Quick was superb in goal, the U.S. power play was disorganized and ineffective, the puck stayed mostly on the perimeter and the Americans failed to generate the sustained pressure needed to score enough goals to defeat Canada. The Canadians were the aggressors and if not for Quick, it might have been a far worse result than 1-0.

In the end, Jonathan Toews’ line for Canada neutralized Phil Kessel’s line for the U.S. and David Backes’ U.S. line muzzled Sidney Crosby’s line for Canada. The difference was the depth of the Canadians, with an energetic line of Jamie Benn, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry running amok. Benn scored the only goal of the game and his line did what the Americans could not: generate pressure.

All too often, the Americans got one quality shot away, only to see Carey Price make the save and one of his Canadian teammates move the puck out of danger and into the U.S. zone. Canada’s best defense was a strong offensive game, hanging onto the puck and creating scoring chances through its possession play. The Americans failed to do any of that, which is why they looked exactly like the Kings during Saturday’s semifinal.

Canada meets Sweden in the gold-medal game Sunday.

The U.S. faces Finland for the bronze Saturday.

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