Jordan Leopold scored early in the third period and the American team with a roster full of NHL players managed only a 3-3 tie against underdog Latvia.
"We were not expected to win or even get the tie," said former NHL goalie Arturs Irbe, who made 39 saves - 18 in the third period - for Latvia. "We were big-time underdogs in this game in everybody's eyes except our own people."
Latvia, with only two current NHL players, rallied from an early two-goal deficit. Latvia had the luxury of practicing together since Feb. 5. The U.S. squad had just one practice before Wednesday.
"A lot of guys just got off the flight yesterday. There's no excuses, but that's the reality," said Lightning and U.S. goalie John Grahame, who made 22 saves.
The United States plays today against Kazakhstan.
All seemed right for the United States early when Brian Gionta scored a power-play goal 9:44 in, and Craig Conroy doubled the lead 54 seconds later.
Atvars Tribuncovs cut Latvia's deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal in the first period, and Latvia took over in the second.
"We're not happy with the outcome, obviously," Grahame said. "We're just going to keep playing. We're trying to stay positive."
Canada 7, Italy 2
Marty St. Louis and Brad Richards had a goal and an assist each and Vinny Lecavalier had two assists as the gold-medal favorite Canadians scored five goals in the second period.
Canada tied it at 1 early in the second period, but Dany Heatley scored 72 seconds later and the rout was on, with four more goals to follow in the next 13 1/2 minutes. Shane Doan, Jerome Iginla, St. Louis and Richards also scored in the second, with Iginla getting his second of the game and fourth in two Olympic Games.
"Not much was said, and really nothing had to be said," St. Louis said. "We just got better. There was no panic."
Czech Republic 4, Germany 1
Defenseman Tomas Kaberle scored twice in the second period and the Czech Republic, withstanding a hamstring injury to longtime star goalie Dominik Hasek, held off tenacious Germany.
The victory was tighter than expected for what figures to be a high-scoring Czech team featuring NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr, mostly because Olaf Kolzig played an excellent game in goal.
The Czechs held on to a 2-1 lead for most of the final two periods, until Jagr scored with 2:13 remaining on a shot Kolzig initially stopped only to have it bounce into the net off defenseman Sascha Goc's left leg. David Vyborny scored into an empty net in the final minute.
Hasek left midway through the first period with a left hamstring injury and wouldn't speculate after the game on whether he'll play again in Turin. Hasek said he felt a sharp pain between his legs after making a save.
Finland 5, Switzerland 0
Teemu Selanne and Olli Jokinen each had two goals and an assist, and Finland gave Switzerland few chances to score against Antero Niittymaki, who made 24 saves.
Slovakia 5, Russia 3
Marian Gaborik beat two defenders on a rush out of his zone with 3 1/2 minutes remaining, and Slovakia pulled off the first upset of the tournament. Russia still can medal, but the loss increases the pressure on them to avoid losing in their remaining four games in group play.
Sweden 7, Kazakhstan 2
Minnesota Wild defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist scored twice and lifted Sweden to an easy victory.
NHL POWER PLAY IN OLYMPIC HOCKEY
Of the 12 teams in the Olympic men's ice hockey tournament, seven have a majority of players from the National Hockey League. Two rosters - the United States and Canada - are made up entirely of NHL players.
TEAM NHL PLAYERS
Czech Republic 22
United States 23