You’re going to hear a lot of talk about how close this game was and based on certain metrics you might even be persuaded that this is the case.
This is the kind of claptrap you’d hear on TSN. Don’t believe the hype.
The Slovaks dove all over the ice early and often in drawing six power plays, of which only maybe one or two were in any way explicable apart from “gross IIHF incompetence/corruption.” They also scored a pair of goals on those six power plays, bringing low the mighty American penalty kill and cutting the lead from 3-0 to 3-2.
Which, by the way, who cares? Again, this game was 3-0 about 24 minutes in, and while the Nervous Nellies and Naysaying Nicks out there might think that having the game be within a goal through 40 should be in some way troubling, the fact of the matter is that this, too, was as foregone a conclusion as Thursday’s breezy win over the Czechs.
After the game, NHL Network color commentator/possible double agent Dave Starman, said that the Slovaks “pushed [America] to the limit.” This after the mighty US tacked on not one, not two, but three even-strength goals in the third period. The Slovaks? Pushing the US to anything but the brink of comatose boredom? Don’t make us laugh and vomit simultaneously.
Let’s put this as simply as possible, so that even our Canadian readers can understand: Through six periods of hockey, the US has conceded one (1) even-strength goal, and that came in today’s contest because the team was up 6-2 and no one really cared, the definition of a garbage time goal. They’ve also scored six even-strength goals. Which tells you everything, really. Even excepting the American Superpower Play, which was once again gigantic in scoring three times on five opportunities (5 for 8 in the tournament), the US has outscored opponents by a wide margin. Jon Gillies was probably just giving up all those rebounds as a wink and a nod so that people don’t start thinking he’s too perfect.
And here’s the other issue for opponents as well: Even if all your diving works and you get power plays and the US can’t kill all of them, there’s no chance of competing with the Americans’ depth. Through two games, the US has scored 11 goals, and only one player on the team — captain Riley Barber — has more than one goal. That’s 10 different goalscorers in two games, and it’s not particularly nice or fair.
We could sit here for hours and write about the many ways in which this game was not at all close, because the US got a lead at 16:53, played pretty poorly for most of the rest of the night, and still never looked back. You want to talk about killer instinct? How about three goals in seven minutes to make it a two-, three-, and four-goal game?
If this is the US’s “limit” then someone’s going to die in the Germany game.