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Americans defeat France for tournament-opening win

Stars players, Team USA win opening round game

Friday, 05.4.2012 / 8:46 AM CT / News
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Americans defeat France for tournament-opening win

Team USA had the perfect tune-up for Saturday's rivalry showdown with Canada at the 2012 IIHF World Championship in Helsinki.

The Americans opened tournament play Friday afternoon with a convincing 7-2 win against France at Hartwall Arena.

New York Islander Kyle Okposo had a pair of goals -- including a memorable bad-angle snipe -- and Montreal's Max Pacioretty, the man of the match, had a goal and three points. Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made 21 saves for the Americans.

Former NHL goalie Cristobal Huet, who won the Stanley Cup with Chicago in 2010, played for France and stopped 28 of 35 shots.

Anaheim Duck forward Bobby Ryan, who had a goal, said the game was closer than the final scoreline indicated.

"The score didn't really indicate the game," Ryan told IIHF.com. "I think they could have had a lot more goals and we could have come up with a few less. It was closer than people might realize."

Actually, France opened the scoring, putting the Americans under a bit of adversity early. Nicolas Besch beat Howard with a wrist shot from the slot at 12:17, but Okposo answered with a breakaway goal a little less than five minutes later.

"It was a little bit of nerves out there," Howard said. "It's been a little while since I played for Team USA, so I was a little bit nervous in the first and second but I felt a lot better in the third.

The Americans pulled away in the final two periods, using a pair of power-play goals to establish a 3-1 lead and then adding four more even-strength goals in the game's final 27 minutes.

Now, the Americans have to get ready for Team Canada on Saturday. Canada plays Slovakia later Friday.

"It's better for us to take it one step at a time," Ryan told IIHF.com. "We got a feel for the big ice in Sweden, and a lot of guys felt uncomfortable with it and the extra width, so it was important that we get a game under our belt in a different situation like this."

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 77 48 22 7 225 215 103
2 x - NSH 76 47 21 8 218 183 102
3 STL 75 46 22 7 228 186 99
4 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
5 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
6 VAN 75 43 27 5 215 203 91
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 75 37 24 14 200 188 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 76 37 29 10 236 243 84
11 SJS 75 37 30 8 210 212 82
12 COL 75 35 28 12 205 209 82
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 76 28 44 -4 72
T. Seguin 66 34 35 -1 69
J. Spezza 76 16 41 -3 57
J. Klingberg 59 11 27 6 38
C. Eakin 72 17 19 -2 36
T. Daley 62 16 19 -9 35
A. Goligoski 76 4 31 0 35
A. Hemsky 70 11 21 -6 32
S. Horcoff 72 11 17 8 28
V. Fiddler 74 12 14 -6 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 34 15 10 .907 2.84
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.28
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