It’s a literal must win scenario for the United States of America on Tuesday night as they take on host nation and chief rival Canada in the group stage of the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
Let’s be honest here: prospects are dim for the USA to defeat Canada. The team looked wholly uninspired in their Saturday debut against Team Europe, losing 3-0. And against a Canadian team that is so stacked they can afford to make Claude Giroux a healthy scratch, there’s not much hope. Not for a team with John Tortorella’s ancient ideas about how to play hockey behind the bench. Not for a team silly enough to leave Phil Kessel off the roster for a best-on-best hockey tournament.
But they’ll require a regulation win if they want to stay alive in this tournament. They’ll have their chance at 8 p.m. ET, live on ESPN in front of the whole nation. A loss means that Thursday’s group stage finale against the Czechs will mean nothing for the Americans. Should Canada win, they’ll lock in a spot in the semifinals.
In the early game Tuesday, Scandinavian rivals Sweden and Finland face off at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN. Finland is coming off a loss to the kids from North America on Sunday and they are in need of a win against a Swedish team that sits atop Group B entering the game. Should Finland win in regulation, the group will become wide open with all four teams sitting at two points through two games. A Swedish win puts them in great shape to make the semifinals.
If you’re a North America fan -- and I mean, why wouldn’t you be? — you’re hoping the Finns are able to pull this one out since it will leave the group wide open for the taking. They’d still need Finland to beat Russia and their own win against Sweden to win the group outright, but a Swedish loss today would make their track to the semifinals much more clear.
Tuesday, September 19
Group B: Finland at Sweden
3 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA)
Group A: United States at Canada
8 p.m. ET (ESPN, Sportsnet, TVA)
Tournament results so far
Saturday, September 17
Europe 3, United States 0
Canada 6, Czech Republic 0
Sunday, September 18
Sweden 2, Russia 1
North America 4, Finland 1
Monday, September 19
Europe 3, Czech Republic 2 (OT)
Russia 4, North America 3
- Europe: 2-0-0, 4 points (6 goals for, 2 goals against)
- Canada: 1-0-0, 2 points (6 GF, 0 GA)
- Czech Republic: 0-1-1, 1 point (2 GF, 9 GA)
- United States: 0-1-0, 0 points (0 GF, 3 GA)
- Sweden: 1-0-0, 2 points (2 GF, 1 GA)
- Russia: 1-1-0, 2 points (5 GF, 5 GA)
- North America: 1-1-0, 2 points (7 GF, 5 GA)
- Finland: 0-1-0, 0 points (1 GF, 4 GA)