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World Cup of Hockey: Team Canada vs. Team USA preview, game thread, lines and how to watch

Expect a boring, dry affair with no emotional investment whatsoever.

Hockey: World Cup of Hockey-Pre Tournament-Team USA vs Team Canada
TJ Oshie and Shea Weber exchanging pleasantries.
Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Today’s Group A action is a doozy, with Team Canada taking on a Team USA already out of second chances.

The shot clock might have been 35-17 in their favour, but losing 3-0 to Team Europe was embarrassing for Team USA. Team Europe’s subsequent win over the Czech Republic has also put the US in a rather tight spot: if they lose tonight, they'll be mathematically eliminated from the semi-finals. It’s with good reason that USA coach and Colin Kaepernick fan John Tortorella has been calling tonight "our championship game".

Whether roster selections or John Tortorella as head coach, Team USA’s decision-making process has been questioned almost without end. An early exit would only amplify the criticism.

As for Team Canada, they’re coming off a decisive 6-0 win over the Czech Republic. If there’s concern to be had, it’s two-fold: that the Canadians may be a little slow-starting after last playing on Saturday; and to avoid being too cocksure. The former is a situation the Americans face as well, while with regards to the latter, Team Canada can use the genuine animosity present to their advantage. Channeling their pre-tournament hostilities into a heartfelt desire to eliminate the Americans shouldn’t be too difficult.

When/Where:

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 7:00 p.m. CT, Air Canada Centre
TV Broadcast: ESPN, SN, TVA Sports
Live Stream: WatchESPN, NHL Live

Team USA Projected Lineup
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Justin Abdelkader
Derek Stepan Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk Joe Pavelski T.J. Oshie
Zach Parise Ryan Kesler Blake Wheeler
Max Pacioretty David Backes Kyle Palmieri
Left Defence
Right Defence
Ryan McDonagh John Carlson
Ryan Suter Matt Niskanen
Erik Johnson Dustin Byfuglien
Goaltenders
Jonathan Quick
Ben Bishop

Why yes, that is Justin Abdelkader alongside Derek Stepan and Patrick Kane. Say what you will about Tortorella, but let no one accuse him of bowing to pressure from the basement blogger community.

In addition to Kyle Palmieri, Winnipeg’s own Dustin Byfuglien now draws in after being scratched for Team USA’s Saturday loss. Of course, for Byfuglien and Palmieri to join the fray, Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson had to come out of the lineup. As Craig Custance pointed out, this can’t have been an easy decision for Torts, considering he’s their NHL bench boss and all. So much for Brandon Dubinsky: Crosby Super Pest.

It sounds as though both players will receive power play time, with Byfuglien potentially on the second unit alongside Suter, Oshie, Kesler and Stepan. Whether these changes will be enough to take on Team Canada, we’ll find out soon enough.

Team Canada Projected Lineup
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Brad Marchand
Sidney Crosby Patrice Bergeron
John Tavares Ryan Getzlaf Steven Stamkos
Logan Couture Jonathan Toews Corey Perry
Joe Thornton Ryan O'Reilly Matt Duchene
Left Defence
Right Defence
Marc-Edouard Vlasic Shea Weber
Jay Bouwmeester Drew Doughty
Alex Pietrangelo Brent Burns
Goaltenders
Carey Price
Corey Crawford

**insert praise here**

Seriously though, it’s full steam ahead for Team Canada. Crosby is clicking beautifully between Marchand and Bergeron, Carey Price looks like Carey Price, and "four-liner" Joe Thornton looks like he has another 1000 games in those 37-year-old legs of his.

If and when they lose tonight, we'll have a hockey summit to dissect what went wrong. Until then, everything is peachy.

Tweets of the Day:

Who are you cheering for this evening? Will Team USA’s changes and desperation be enough to overcome Team Canada? And where is the right spot for both Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien in the Americans lineup? Turn the comments section below into your stream of consciousness, and as always, thanks for reading!