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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."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 7 4 6 5 10
J. Spezza 7 4 5 1 9
P. Eaves 7 2 3 3 5
P. Sharp 7 3 1 0 4
R. Faksa 7 2 2 3 4
A. Goligoski 7 2 2 -3 4
J. Klingberg 7 1 3 -2 4
A. Hemsky 7 1 3 3 4
C. Eakin 7 0 4 0 4
J. Demers 7 0 3 5 3
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 4 1 0 .925 2.01
A. Niemi 1 1 1 .870 3.36
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