Sunday, February 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

U.S. shut out in World Cup opener; Canada cruises

TORONTO — When the United States filled out its roster for the World Cup, it was heavy on grit and physicality, and light on skill and scoring.

That played out in the Americans' 3-0 loss to Europe on Saturday in the World Cup opener. With offensive defenseman Dustin Byfuglien and 30-goal scorer Kyle Palmieri scratched, the United States struggled to generate quality scoring chances and finds itself in trouble one game into the tournament. "It was just tough to score for us," said wing Zach Parise of the Wild.

The Islanders' Jaroslav Halak stopped 35 shots to earn the shutout for Europe, a mix of players from Slovakia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Norway, Denmark, France and Slovenia. The Kings' Marian Gaborik, the Oilers' Leon Draisaitl and the Flyers' Pierre-Edouard Bellemare scored on U.S. and Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who made 14 saves.

The United States has been shut out in three consecutive major international tournament games dating to the 2014 Olympics. Leaving skilled players such as the Lightning's Tyler Johnson and the Islanders' Kyle Okposo off the roster sparked plenty of second-guessing of the U.S. management team, and that won't slow after losing to Europe.

Canada 6, Czech Republic 0: Sidney Crosby and the Bruins' Brad Marchand each had a goal and two assists, and the Canadiens' Carey Price made 26 saves in Canada's dominant opening win. The Lightning's Steven Stamkos had an assist.

Around the NHL: Stars center Tyler Seguin has a hairline heel fracture suffered playing for Canada in a World Cup exhibition Sept. 9, the Stars said. He will be re-evaluated in a week. … Brayden Point and Brett Howden, the Lightning's first-round draft pick in June, each scored two goals as Tampa Bay beat the Capitals 7-6 in the rookie tournament in Coral Springs.

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