2:20 p.m. Canada now plays Sweden for the gold medal at 7 a.m. on Sunday, live on NBC. Team U.S.A. plays Finland for bronze at 10 a.m. on Saturday. See you there.
2:08 p.m. And that's it? Team U.S.A. fails to tie the game, and Canada escapes with a 1-0 victory. I've never been more happy to be wrong. Canada had two opportunities to pad their stats at the end of the game, including this two-on-one opportunity when forward Jeff Carter carried the puck into U.S. territory only to have John Carlson break up the pass with a brilliant defensive play.
2:04 p.m. Three minutes left, and the Canadians aren't letting the Americans dictate the pace. Chris Kunitz, whose selection to the Canadian team nearly turned the country on its head, came this close to beating Quick and creating a lead.
1:58 p.m. Canada had a powerplay and still could not extend the lead. I will eat my hat if this game doesn't go to overtime.
1:54 p.m. And here's Zack Parise
giving me nightmares coming so close to scoring after a beautiful drop pass from one of his teammates to create space and get a fantastic shot on Price. Too bad the puck landed squarely in the goaltender's chest.
1:45 p.m. Drew Doughty very nearly put Canada up by two goals after this unreal shot from the point. The way he moves his feet to create space and find a line towards the net is impressive. Quick just barely gets the puck with his shoulder and saves a quality scoring opportunity.
1:39 p.m. Third period about to start. Everyone breath, remember to be civil no matter what happens, and pray this goes by quickly.
1:24 p.m. Canada leads through two periods, 1-0. I am calm but not comfortable.
1:19 p.m. Big opportunity as America goes on the powerplay after Chris Kunitz gets called for slashing Jonathan Quick's glove after the play. He didn't agree with the call:
Kunitz off for slashing after driving net. He told the ref: "Blow the f------ whistle!"— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) February 21, 2014
1:08 p.m. The U.S. seems to have switched their offensive style today. So far U.S.A. has incorporated a very wide, pass-heavy European offense that utilizes the extra space afforded by the international ice surface. Today, they're playing a tighter, North American offense. Canada leads by one and has dominated puck possession so far. That said, forward Zach Parise came damn close to tying the game here.
1:00 p.m. Canadian forward Jamie Benn just broke the tie! Benn received the puck inside the circle and made a beautiful no-look pass to defensemen Jay Bouwmeester, who fired the puck from the point. Benn circled around and found Bouwmeester's shot on the open side of Jonathan Quick to deflect the puck into the net for Canada's first goal.
12:51 p.m. Hopefully Congressional hearings and a treason trial come from this:
Did Walmart really just use a Rush song to salute America during a USA/Canada game? GET FUCKED, WALTON FAMILY.— Drew Magary (@drewmagary) February 21, 2014
12:48 p.m. How about this:
USA/Canada hockey over 700k CONCURRENT streams. NBC Sports digital record. Higher than Super Bowl in 2012. If this goes to a shootout... oy.— Jim Bell (@jfb) February 21, 2014
This hockey thing seems pretty popular.
12:40 p.m. The game remains tied through two periods despite both teams getting powerplay opportunities, and both offenses playing at breakneck speeds. Canada leads the shot battle, 16-to-11, over the Americans. Sidney Crosby has so far flew around the ice like a man possessed today. Hopefully, if the hockey Gods are watching, he'll break his scoreless streak today. Is my bias showing yet?
12:35 p.m. Referees put Canadian forward Patrick Marleau in the sin bin for two minutes, but the northerner's impressive penalty-killing was able to neutralize any American offensive hope. We know President Obama and Prime Minister Harper have a case of beer riding on today's game, but I would love to know the terms of this bet:
Go USA!!! Drizzy bet something!— Lil Wayne WEEZY F (@LilTunechi) February 21, 2014
12:26 p.m. Canada went scoreless on the powerplay after American defenseman Ryan Suter was called for holding. Canada couldn't score with a man advantage against Latvia either. They'll need to convert on those opportunities today if I hope to survive the afternoon.
12:18 p.m. If the U.S. scores, it will most likely be on a quick offensive strike, not a prolonged stretch of play in the Canadian zone. The U.S. team is fast in a way that scares the daylights out of me. Phil Kessel has the time and patience to dish the puck to John Carlson for an excellent shot while the rest of the team crowds Carey Price. It's like a premonition of something terrible to come.
12:11 p.m. One player to watch on Canada is defensemen Drew Doughty, who is as explosive on his skates as any forward. He also leads Canada in scoring. Here, Doughty carried the puck from the Canadian zone, splits two defenders defenders down the middle and creates a decent scoring chance on Jonathan Quick
12:06 p.m. The quick American offense wasted no time getting a shot on net for Phil Kessel, its best forward, and already I feel sick.
Original: It comes down to this. Canada and the U.S. will face off in the Olympic men's hockey semifinal (but really final) for the right to play Sweden for gold, just a day after the Canadian women came from behind to vanquish a strong American squad. Can the boys do the same?
Canada will need help from its top forwards who have, so far, not scored very many goals despite the team's unbeaten streak. Comparatively, the U.S. leads the Olympics in scoring, and have looked like the most powerful hockey team in the world. My pessimistic outlook for today's game has already been well-documented.
So, here it is. The chance for the U.S. to redeem its 2010 silver medal loss in Vancouver, when Canada won gold on home ice in overtime thanks to what many Canadians now call "the golden goal," when Sidney Crosby received a pass from Jerome Iginla, and deposited the puck past American goaltender Ryan Miller.
Why did I agree to do this? Because watching me melt down in real time — or tell my colleague Philip Bump to shove it, repeatedly — will be fun. Hockey is fun. This will be fun. Right? Right? Oh God.