USA (1-0-0-0, 3 points) vs. Norway (0-0-1-0, 0 points)

What to Watch For:
For Norway, all eyes will be on goalie Pal Grotnes, who was brilliant for two periods versus Canada before leaving with an injury, believed to be leg cramps.  If Grotnes is able to go, as he believes he will be, the Norwegians have a puncher’s chance.

For the United States, it will be interesting to see where their chemistry stands.  Against the Swiss, there were a few occasions where guys were caught out of position, and there were a number of ill-advised passes.  Team USA has only been together for three days and is still trying to find its way when it comes to line combinations and chemistry on the ice.  Will a full day of practice set the team right? We should find out early on against the Norwegians.

Last game
USA beat Switzerland, 3-1; Norway was defeated by Canada, 8-0.

Team Reports

Norway – The Norwegians threw a scare into the Canadians for one period on Tuesday by playing a passive forecheck that closed down the neutral zone and blunted Canada’s speed. Clearly, they will try to do the same against the Americans.  A “defense-first” style only works if you have the ability to counter-attack offensively.  The Norwegians have zero NHL players on their roster.

USA – The American fourth line was the team’s most dangerous in Tuesday’s game.  With goals from Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan, “Real American” David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone, the Americans have no goals yet from their top-six forwards.  But, the top line of Zach Parise, Paul Statsny and Patrick Kane did manage to fire 8 of Team USA’s 24 shots.  Look for that top line to produce Tuesday.  The Americans will also look to goalie Ryan Miller, who played very well against Switzerland and made the saves he needed to make.

Total NHL players – Norway: 0. USA: 23

Puck Drop
Don’t expect the USA to take the Norwegians lightly.  The Americans know they need to be hitting on all cylinders come Saturday’s showdown against Canada. Norway provides the perfect opportunity for a quick tune-up to work out any fixable setbacks.

“This is the first 60 minutes that these guys have played together and, with that yardstick, I’m pleased with the game,” American GM Brian Burke said. “Some of these guys barely know each other. You’re not going to get the reading off of each other that you get from units that play together on a regular basis. You’re not going to see that, not early in the tournament anyway.”

Prediction
The Americans find their offensive groove in this game and set the pace early on.  Team USA wins 5-1.

Shot Calling – goal for Phil Kessel.