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Let’s start with the Russia VS Canada game. I take back what I said about Vladimir Tarasenko. Wow, boy oh boy did he look awesome today. Clearly the best player on the ice for either team, Tarasenko set up countless scoring opportunities where his teammates simply refused to shoot the puck. If Russia ever decided to shoot the damn puck instead of looking for the perfect play, they would have beaten the Canadians. Instead, team Canada went on to win a game that was much close than the score indicated. Team Canada looked fairly mediocre in the offensive zone, as well is in the defensive zone. They seemed to be missing the go-to guy in the offensive zone a-la John Tavares or Taylor Hall, and most definitely were missing Alex Pietrangelo on the blue line to bring a second weapon besides Ryan Ellis. Canada doesn’t look like the overwhelming juggernaut that took a monumental upset to beat. They look like a very beatable, albeit very good, hockey team.

On the flip side team USA looked very solid defensively, but left a whole lot to be desired offensively. Unable to complete passes to save their lives, team USA was basically just a shoot-from-the-point kinda team tonight that did manage to get some offense from those plays. Rangers prospects Ryan Bourque and Chris Kreider played on the top 2 lines, but only Kreider looked dominating as Bourque seemed to be far more focused on the defensive aspect of the game covering for floater extraordinaire, Jeremy Morin. Kreider could have easily, and I really do mean easily, had a goal and 3 assists tonight if not for a miraculous save by the Finnish goalie on his glorious scoring chance, or the inability of his linemate to hit the friggin net. Kreider set up both Palmieri and Coyle for several breakaways and point blank chances, and their inability to finish costed the Americans a point. Granted the point really doesn’t matter all that much since we are most definitely in the easier grouping whereas Canada has to deal with Russia as well as Sweden and the Czechs.

Team USA though had 2 things going for them. Their defense looked awfully good, and their goaltending was outstanding. Jack Campbell is probably the best goalie in this tournament, and the USA defenders played an outstanding game. I would look for this team to get better quickly as some of their offensive deficiencies can be attributed to a lack of familiarity. I will say this though, the team definitely looks to be missing Derek Stepan as none of the centers looked like they had the ability to create offense for their finishing wingers. The very fact that Chris Kreider was the best playmaker out there tonight has to really scare the hell out of the Team USA coaches.

Rangers VS Islanders tomorrow. This has letdown game written all over it.

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