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World Cup of Hockey Recap: Team USA defeats Team Finland 3-2

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Team Finland deserved to lose this one

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Pre Tournament-Team Finland vs Team USA Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For tonight’s pre-tournament game I decided to do a stream of consciousness recap of the game. There’s some additional thoughts on the Leafs players at the end.

First Period

Puck drop – get in your seats, DC peeps!

19:00 T.J. Oshie scores. Poor Pekka Rinne. Letting in a goal this fast and early does not bode well for the Finns.

17:37 Torts is chuckling on the bench. “Well I could take a nap at this point.”

17:00 Seriously, guy behind Team USA bench: you paid how much for those tickets, and your snack of choice is chicken fingers and fries?

16:20 A dumb penalty by Mikael Granlund gives USA an early power play.

15:57 A near miss by Zach Parise who picked up a rebound on his stick with a wide open net. That would have been an easy goal. Rinne could never have gotten back in time

15:02 JvR sighting! He makes a cool backwards shot on the net, but it's stopped by Rinne.

14:20 SOG are 7-1 for USA.

13:10 The Finns are hitting Max Pacioretty every chance they get. I don't have a problem with this.

12:00 The Finns try a wrap around play on Jonathan Quick, but forget they didn't invite Kapanen, so they can’t make that work.

11:45 JvR is shooting everywhere!

10:50 Sigh. There's one of those idiots who loves to bang on the glass non-stop behind the Finnish net.

10:00 Rinne is going to have to stop a lot of shots tonight if they want to win. Team Finland’s defence is looking discombobulated.

9:45 Watching Patrik Laine; he looks a little lost. It’s like he’s not sure where he is supposed to be, or to whom or when to pass the puck on an attack.

9:15 Byfuglien does what he does best and hammers Matta.

6:10 PING! Laine works his way to the net at gets a shot off that hits the post this time. He is looking confident when he is making plays by himself like that.

4:20 I've seen Patrick Kane on the ice a fair bit, but not doing much worth talking about, yet.

3:50 This Finnish defence loves to collapse to the net and leave the points open.

3:35 JvR’s number is 16, and he’s playing on a line with Stepan whose number is 21. This is confusing me.

1:55 The Finns have some good chances on their power play, but Quick is in beast mode

0:45 Kesler catches the Finns off-guard with the old “end of penalty, rush out of the box” move, but, he's Kessler and can't make a shot even close to the net on his breakaway.

0:05 Kane has a breakaway now, but still no goal on Rinne.

First intermission: Sportsnet has a feature about past World Cup of Hockey tournaments. It’s informative, but not as great as the in-depth special put together by the NHL Network about the 1996 World Cup. You can read about that one here.

Hallway interview with Oshie: “When we're in their end, that's our identity.”

Second Period

19:10 Team USA defence is quite robust at stifling the Team Finland forwards.

19:00 Poor Finns. Laine takes an unfortunate penalty, and Rinne has Kesler's butt slammed in his face.

16:55 Team USA on the power play and the Finns are leaving JvR alone, right in front of their net, with a good 8 feet of space all to himself. Not a good idea.

16:00 Team Finland really needs to stop starting a line change right when the opposing players are finishing their change and coming off the bench.

14:30 A brutal turnover by Team Finland and Team USA scores by someone changing off the bench. Again!

11:20 Finns power play strategy: pass it right to your opponent’s stick and let them dump it out.

9:50 Sportsnet: please stop using the ice-level camera angles from the corners of the rink during game play.

9:30 The play by play crew are pumping Laine's tires, but he hasn't done anything remarkable tonight.

6:55 Lepisto gets off unnoticed holding Abdelkader's stick.

5:00 The Finns look like they are putting nearly no effort to their breakout. They have turned over the puck at the blue line two times in a row.

3:20 Patches and Kesler catch the Finn's defence flat footed once again.

1:50 At which position does Jori Lehtera think he is playing that he skates across the ice to all sides and corners chasing the puck?

0:20 Backes takes a really dumb penalty to end the second. The penalty box monitor is a woman. I can't say I have paid too much attention to them, but I never recall seeing one who was not a man.

Third Period

17:00 I missed the first three minutes because I was bored and decided to empty/load the dishwasher. Looks like I didn't miss anything interesting.

15:35 STOP USING THAT DAMN ICE LEVEL CAMERA!

13:12 Team Finland has yet another bad turnover which leads to scoring chances for Team USA. They really need to tighten up their play. Are they tired from the long trip or something?

10:35 JvR is really enjoying his mouthguard tonight.

8:30 Laine scores after being left wide open in the Ovechkin spot by David Backes.

6:33 Finns are getting cocky now. Granlund blows up Backes on the boards.

4:30 This game is boring. The Finns have given up. I should t... WAIT WHAT? Team Finland scores again!

3:10 Sebastian Aho has been fantastic tonight.

2:55 Less than 3 minutes left. The fans almost forgot to do the obligatory: “U-S-A .U-S-A. U-S-A.” chant

2:00 Team USA takes a puck over the glass penalty: the nemesis of all teams leading by one goal late in the third.

1:30 Oh! Koivu with an open net and his stick breaks. That could have tied the game.

0:00 Great pressure by the Finns at the end as the US turtled, but they couldn’t get anything past Quick.

Leafs Players Overview

I think JvR played well tonight. He was paired mostly with Stepan and Kane and they generated a lot of offence together, as you would expect, though they didn’t make the score sheet. Kesler was obviously the leader in that department, and at pissing off the Finns.

Komarov was on the ice when there were Finnish goals, but I didn’t see him participate in the specific plays that lead up to them.

Game thoughts

Team Finland deserved to lose this one. They played a poor defensive game for much of the first two periods, and their players often looked unsure of what they should be doing. They pulled it together in the third period, but that was too late. You can’t concede any period in such a short tournament, especially one with single game knockout semi-finals. The Finnish coach, Lauri Marjamaki, needs to get his team on a 60 minute game plan immediately.

There will be one more tune up for these teams before the real World Cup of Hockey begins next weekend.