The first World Cup tune-up game for Team USA and Team Canada looked like anything but an exhibition on Friday night in Columbus, OH.
In an intense and physical affair, the Americans prevailed with a 4-2 win over the Canadiens as the clubs prepare for the start of the tournament in Toronto next weekend.
Joe Pavelski, serving as captain for Team USA, notched the game-winning goal. He charged towards the crease and smacked home a rebound at 15:54 of the second period, after teammate Jack Johnson floated a soft puck towards Carey Price that the goaltender couldn’t corral. It put the Americans up 3-1 at the time.
Pavelski also had an assist on the game’s second goal by Patrick Kane late in the first period, taking USA a 2-0 lead that it held at the intermission. The Sharks captain took exception to teammate Brent Burns’ slash just before the score, giving the defenseman a short jab to the chest at the end of the play.
Burns is one of four Sharks competing for Team Canada, joining Joe Thornton, Logan Couture and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. None of the Canadian Sharks found the scoresheet, while Couture was forced from the game in the second period after T.J. Oshie shoved him headfirst into the boards. Couture returned for the third period, though.
Shortly after the Oshie hit on Couture, USA’s Ryan Kesler was ejected for boarding Canada’s Shea Weber.
Couture was in the middle of a late scrum, plowing into Team USA goalie Ben Bishop in the third period after getting pushed from behind by Kyle Palmieri.
Bishop played the third period and didn’t allow a goal, while Jonathan Quick played the first two periods and got the win with 31 saves, including several slick stops in the first. Canada outshot USA for the game, 43-25.