This was the game's only goal, a near-90-degree deflection from Jamie Benn early in the second period, a completely unsaveable puck for Jonathan Quick. Don't make the mistake of believing this was a fluke win, though; This was perhaps the most dominant 1-0 victory in recent memory.
Canada dominated almost every facet of the game—its defenseman swarmed the puck every time it entered their zone, thwarting any American attempt to generate sustained pressure. More often than not, a single, tough-angle shot would be gathered by the Canadians and calmly skated out. The vaunted American speed failed to translate into anything resembling a forecheck—the few times the puck left their zone—and Canada's forwards helped clog the wide ice between the blue lines, thwarting any stretch passes or odd-man rushes. The only time the game looked even-strength was on the U.S.'s three power plays.
Quick was great, making the more difficult saves of the two goaltenders, but Carey Price stopped everything sent his way and kept rebounds to a minimum. If shots were bouncing off his chest pad, it's because he was always in the right position. You can't ask more from a goalie than that. His backup knows what's up:
— Strombone (@strombone1) February 21, 2014
The U.S. entered this game the highest-scoring team in the tournament, but ran into a Canadian team that's now given up just three goals in five games. If Canada handles the beaten-up Swedes in Sunday's game and takes its second consecutive Olympic gold, it'll be a combination of Price, the blueliners, and the fearsome back-checking. Defense wins championships at every level of the sport.
Team USA takes on Finland for the bronze tomorrow at 10 a.m. EST.