2014 Olympic Hockey: USA vs. Canada Preview and Prediction

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2014 Olympic Hockey: USA vs. Canada Preview and Prediction
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

For the third time in the last four Winter Olympic Games, the United States and Canada will face each other in a final-four game. The last two meetings (2002, 2010) were for the gold. This is for a chance to play for the gold.

What a game it figures to be. 

This much can't be denied: The U.S. comes into this game playing better hockey than Canada. The Americans are scoring lots of goals, getting good goaltending from Jonathan Quick and really moving the puck up the ice thanks to a fast, forward-thinking defense.

Something just seems amiss with the mighty Canadians. Who would have ever believed they would go to a third period tied with Team Latvia, as was the case Wednesday in the quarterfinals? The Canadians needed a dubious slashing call to get a third-period power-play goal to beat the mighty Latvians 2-1.

And yet, Canada still hasn't lost in this tournament.

And until proven otherwise, they are the favorites in this game. But not by much.

Canada has played with a distinct lack of emotion too often in this tournament. There's not enough chatter on the bench, not enough grit and grind on the ice. The Americans have looked like the team having a blast. But if previous tournaments are a guide, the Canadians still own an edge in swagger and mystique. 

Other than a preliminary-round game against Finland, Canada has had a ridiculously easy draw so far. It's had problems taking teams seriously, at least a little, it seems. That is never a problem against the Americans. And, vice versa.

So, get up Friday morning for what figures to be a fabulous hockey game. 

The following slideshow will break down the matchup further, with broadcast information.

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