When watching Friday’s game between Team USA and Canada, it was sometimes hard to remember that it was only a pre-tournament game for the World Cup.
It wasn’t a Gold medal game at the Olympics, and it wasn’t even an actual game in the upcoming tournament.
In terms of importance, it was an exhibition game for a preseason tournament.
The two teams — and especially the United States — did not play it that way.
The United States followed through with its intention of “inflicting” and dictating the physical pace of the game from the very start. Things started to really pick up in the second period when T.J. Oshie hit Canada’s Logan Couture, knocking him head first into the boards and forcing him to briefly leave the game.
That is definitely not what the San Jose Sharks — Couture’s NHL team — want to see. Couture did not play the remainder of the second period but was back on the Canada bench for the start of the third.
Later in the period the physical play continued when USA’s Ryan Kesler was ejected for boarding Shea Weber. This play sparked a scrum around the net that actually resulted in team USA getting a 4-on-3 power play because of penalties to Weber and Jonathan Toews.
Again, this is all in an exhibition game.
The United States won the game 4-2 by a pretty sizable margin thanks to a great goaltending performance from Jonathan Quick and goals from Zach Parise, Patrick Kane, Joe Pavelski and a late empty-net goal from Derek Stepan.