Team USA Edges Finland 3-2 in Final Pretournament Contest

Team USA defeated Finland in a 2016 World Cup of Hockey tune-up game without the help of either of the Devils on the team in their lineup.

Both forward Kyle Palmieri and goaltender Cory Schneider were healthy scratches for the game at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC Tuesday.

Palmieri had gotten into some penalty trouble in the team’s last game against Canada and Schneider was sitting as the team tries out different goalie combinations. LA’s Jonathan Quick got the start and played all 60 minutes.

One other item of note is that Team USA’s Dustin Byfuglien moved from defense to forward. He has done this before in his NHL career. His stat line read: two shots on goal, one blocked shot, one giveaway in 10:32 of total ice time (including 1:25 on the power play).

The Americans got goals from TJ Oshie in the first period (from Ryan Kesler and Ryan McDonagh) and Kesler (from Blake Wheeler and Max Pacioretty) and Derek Stepan (from John Carlson) in the second. That was enough to pull out the win, despite the Finns coming on strong in the third period. Finland netted goals from Patrik Laine (from Sami Vatanen and Aleksander Barkov) at 11:22 of the third – a power play goal when Justin Abdelkader was sitting for tripping – and Jussi Jokinen (from Rasmus Ristolainen) at 15:27.

In goal, Pekka Rinne was 26-for-29 for Finland for a .897 save percentage. Quick made 30 stops on 32 shots for a .938 save percentage.

The game was relatively penalty-free. The Finns were 1-for-five on the power play while the US was 0-for-2. The Americans outhit the Finns 23 to 13 and were tight defensively, with 17 blocked shots to Finland’s 14.

This was the final pretournament game for the USA, as the World Cup proper kicks off on Saturday in Toronto. It looks like the starting goaltender’s job is Jonathan Quick’s to lose and hopefully Palmieri can work his way back into the coaching staff’s good graces and be productive. We will find out how the US will be able to gel beginning on Saturday.

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