-- TORONTO -- There are two ways to look at this game between Team Canada and Team USA: The better team clinched a semifinal berth, while the other has been eliminated from contention.
If you've watched the World Cup of Hockey, it's easy to notice why Team Canada is a powerhouse and Team USA appears disjointed. A 4-2 decisive victory over the U.S. proved how incredibly talented Canada is and why it's a strong favorite to win this best-on-best tournament.
The loss for the Americans will lead to many questions about why this happened and why this team was constructed in such a manner.
For a team that was built to be intense and physical, that aspect was missing from Team USA's game. Its ability to break the puck out of its zone effectively, and consistently, hampered the team's ability to create a sustained attack. Scoring only two goals in two games is pathetic. It's also important to point out that as much fun as the Team North America squad is to watch in this tournament, there are a handful of Americans on that team that would add exactly what Team USA is missing.
Since both Canada and Team Europe are 2-0 in the tournament, they advance. Team USA and Czech Republic will play in a meaningless game on Thursday.
For all the talk about Team USA's identity and role players, you can't overlook a player like Canada's Matt Duchene. He scored two goals in the win. He's highly skilled, will go into traffic to score and has great hands around the net. Plus, he can flat-out fly. He's basically perfect for Team Canada because he doesn't get much attention defensively from the opposition due to the superstars on the roster. That makes him very dangerous in a tournament like this. And he's better playing the wing than at center. There's another level to his game, however, but he hasn't reached it yet. If he can, especially in this tournament, he can help lead Canada to victory just like he did Tuesday night against the U.S.
Scoring first was part of the game plan for the Americans. It helped when Ryan McDonagh gave Team USA a 1-0 lead at 4:22 of the first period, but Canada quickly responded with an onslaught. Goals 14 seconds apart from Duchene and Corey Perry gave Canada a 2-1 lead at 6:05 of the first period. Duchene added his second at 12:07 of the opening 20 minutes. Coach John Tortorella should've pulled USA goalie Jonathan Quick after allowing the third goal on six shots. However, it wasn't completely Quick's fault. The team's inability to break the puck out of the zone, and a bit of puck luck for Canada led to USA's first-period meltdown.? T.J. Oshie?batted home a rebound to make it 4-2,?but it was too little, too late.
1. Matt Duchene, W, Canada: Duchene proved why he can be a dangerous player on a roster loaded with superstars. If he continues to play like this, he'll reach elite status too.
2. Carey Price, G, Canada: Even though the PA announcer at Air Canada Centre introduced him as "Corey" during pregame starting lineups, it's a great sign for Team Canada and the Montreal Canadiens that the best goalie in the world is healthy again.
3. John Tavares, W, Canada: A big-time player on the big stage complements other great players. He made a slick move to set up Patrice Bergeron's goal at 8:50 of the second period to give Canada a 4-1 lead.