UPDATE: The USA will be without Paul Martin today as they face the Canadian squad for a shot at Olympic Gold. While this does leave a dent in the American defensive lines, we still like the American squad as small dogs in this match.
Canada Can Win Because…
Their defense and goaltending have been airtight. They’ve allowed just three goals through four games and it’s rare that they are even threatened. Carey Price hasn’t had to do too much between the pipes but when he was needed – especially in a very tight game against Latvia – he has stood up to the task.
Canada is just slightly better than the Americans in almost every facet of the game except for in net. While the U.S. has pretty good players, like Phil Kessel and Joe Pavelski, the Canadians have elite players like Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and John Tavares. That’ll be the difference in the semis.
USA Can Win Because….
Canada hasn’t looked very good in this tournament. Let’s take a look back: they have a 3-1 win over Norway, a 2-1 win over Finland and a 2-1 win over Latvia. This is your gold medal favorite? Meanwhile, the USA stomped Slovakia 7-1, outlasted Russia 3-2, ripped Slovenia 5-1 and crushed the Czech Republic 5-2. Their offense has been cooking as they’ve now scored 20 goals in four games. Clearly, Canada’s offense isn’t working at the same pace.
The other realm where the Americans should have an edge is in net. Jonathan Quick is a better goaltender than Carey Price; that’s the bottom line. He’s been a playoff MVP before in the NHL and has won a Stanley Cup. He knows what it takes to get the job done. Price is good but just isn’t on the same level.
Outlook & Pick
This is going to be a close game either way but with the Americans listed as dogs, I’ll take a shot with them. They’ve been the better team in this tournament and that will carry through in the semifinals as they get revenge on the Canadians.
Pick: USA +103 at Pinnacle