Give it up to the United States for making sure to take care of business right off the bat. Opening up the World Championships against France could’ve been a time to struggle to find team chemistry. Instead it turned into a 7-2 victory to kick off the tournament the right way.
Kyle Okposo netted two goals while Max Pacioretty had a goal and two assists and Paul Stastny had three assists to lead the way. Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots to keep the French at bay. Former Blackhawks and Capitals goalie Cristobal Huet stopped 28 in the loss.
The game didn’t start out quite the way the United States was hoping as France jumped out to a 1-0 lead 12 minutes into the first period. Okposo would make sure France didn’t go into the intermission with a lead scoring his first goal. The opening 20 minutes proved to be the wake-up call Team USA needed as they scored three goals in the second and third to roll on past the French.
Up next for the Americans: Canada tomorrow (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). Canada slipped past Slovakia 3-2 in their opening game of the tournament. Expect Team USA to have to deal with Cam Ward in goal while Ryan Getzlaf, Jamie Benn, Jordan Eberle highlight the wide array of talent the Canadians brought this year.
Just remember, the key in the preliminary round is to finish in the top four of the group. Knocking off Canada would go a long way to helping the cause and open the door to finishing first in the group.