pacioretty-slovakiaWhile the rest of the Canadiens, including Alex Galchenyuk continue to work out at their Brossard training facility, 8,165 kilometres away, Max Pacioretty is in the process of instructing his USA teammates on how to score goals on Carey Price.

They’ll be on opposing benches Friday at noon Eastern time when Canada and the US meet for the right to play in the gold medal game Sunday against the winner of the Finland/Sweden game.  The losers will play for the bronze medal  on Saturday.

In the quarterfinal game against the Czech Republic Tuesday, Pacioretty was given the most ice time of his three appearances in the tournament at  11:14 and 17 shifts.  After being replaced by Rangers left wing Derek Stepan in the game against Slovenia, Pacioretty was re-united with Paul Stastny and T.J Oshie Tuesday.   In three games he’s totaled just over 31 minutes with six shots on goal and an assist.

0217-oly-arthur-hockey This will be Carey Price’s third consecutive start after splitting duties in the first two games with Roberto Luongo. Price has given up 3 goals on 51 shots, a save percentage of .941 and a goals against average of 0.96.   His goaltending opponent Jonathan Quick has given up five in 3 starts for a 1.62 GAA and .931save%.

Much to the dismay of Montreal fans, P.K. Subban will be a healthy scratch for the third consecutive game as Mike Babcock and his coaching staff continues to lean to the side of what is perceived to be ‘defensive responsibility’ rather than blueline offense.  Since Team Canada defencemen have accounted for more than half of their goals, scratching Subban seems to be mostly a Quebec issue.  Everywhere else it’s an afterthought.  That is, unless Canada loses.  Then the second guessers will be out in force.

Pacioretty vs. Price isn’t the only head-on collision of NHL teammates.  Drew Doughty is a teammate of US goaltender Jonathan Quick. Sidney Crosby faces the defense pairing of Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin; Jonathan Toews vs. Patrick Kane; Joe Pavelski against Marc-Edouard Vlasic and David Backes vs. Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester.

Meanwhile, the other four members of the Canadiens Sochi contingent  arrived back in Montreal via  Newark on Thursday night.     The travel and game weary Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Peter Budaj won’t be asked to resume workouts with the Habs until the weekend or Monday.  The non-Olympic Canadiens resumed practice on Wednesday after a ten day break.

Going into Friday’s game against the USA, Team Canada’s coaching staff has decided to stick with what got them past Latvia on Wednesday with the exception of the fourth line where Matt Duchene will replace John Taveres at centre between Rick Nash and Patrick Sharp.  Taveres suffered a serious knee injury against Latvia and will miss the rest of the NHL season.

Projected Team Canada Lines vs. USA

14-Chris Kunitz 87-Sidney Crosby 37- Patrice Bergeron.

Parick Marleau 16-Jonathan Toews 77-Jeff Carter.

22-Jamie Benn 15-Ryan Getzlaf 24-Corey Perry.

61-Rick Nash 9-Matt Duchene 10-Patrick Sharp

(Extra – 26-Martin St. Louis).

2-Duncan Keith 6-Shea Weber

44-Marc-Edouard Vlasic 8-Drew Doughty

19-Jay Bouwmeester 27-Alex Pietrangelo

(Extra – 5-Dan Hamhuis)

31-Carey Price