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Americans defeat France for tournament-opening win

Stars players, Team USA win opening round game

Friday, 05.04.2012 / 9:46 AM / 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 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 62 38 17 7 182 174 83
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 62 37 20 5 183 146 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 60 29 19 12 162 153 70
9 CGY 61 33 24 4 174 158 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 DAL 61 27 25 9 191 202 63
12 COL 61 26 24 11 161 175 63
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 61 23 37 -1 60
T. Seguin 55 29 30 0 59
J. Spezza 61 14 37 -3 51
E. Cole 56 18 14 4 32
J. Klingberg 47 10 22 4 32
T. Daley 58 16 15 -11 31
A. Hemsky 55 9 17 -7 26
A. Goligoski 61 2 24 4 26
C. Eakin 58 12 13 -3 25
A. Roussel 59 11 11 -11 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 25 13 9 .906 2.96
J. Enroth 13 24 2 .900 3.31
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