Defenseman Jacob Trouba doesn’t have to see video of the Russian national team to know what to expect when the Americans play the host country Friday (9 a.m., ET, NHL Network) in their second game at the world junior championships in Ufa.
“We have not watched them yet, but all of the Russian teams I’ve played always have a lot of skill,” Trouba said. “And we know they have a good goalie. They will be a big test for us.”
The Russian goalie is Andrei Vasilevski, who was the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first-round pick last summer, and he posted a 32-save performance in Russia’s 3-2 overtime win against a spunky Slovakia team on Wednesday.
The Americans tuned up for the important Russian game by defeating Germany 8-0 on Thursday. The Americans had eight different goal scorers, led by Montreal Canadiens first rounder Alex Galchenyuk and Washington Capitals sixth-rounder Riley Barber, who had a goal and two assists each. Barber is the son of former NHLer Don Barber, who played with the Minnesota North Stars, Winnipeg Jets, Quebec Nordiques and San Jose Sharks.
Trouba (Winnipeg), Sean Kuraly (San Jose), Shayne Gostisbehere (Philadelphia Flyers), Riley Hartman (2013 draft eligible), J.T. Miller (New York Rangers) and Seth Jones (2013 draft eligible) also scored for the Americans (1-0). Kuraly scored 19 seconds into the game and Barber scored 14 seconds into the second period.
“We don’t have the big guns like Canada does and some of the other teams,” Trouba said. “So we are going to need balance throughout the tournament, but I also thought our defense was very good (against Germany).”
The Americans held the Germans scoreless on 26 shots. The day before, Germany found the net three times in a 9-3 loss to Canada.
Anaheim Ducks draft pick John Gibson picked up the win in net for the Americans, probably doing his best work when the USA was playing two men short for 50 seconds in the second period. Gibson made 19 saves over two periods before being replaced by Jon Gillies (Calgary Flames).
As they did in the pre-tournament games, the Americans had some trouble staying out of the penalty box. Three times, they gave the Germans a 5-on-3 advantage.
“Trying to get off to a good start was a focus going into that game against Germany,” said USA coach Phil Housley. “Our guys did a great job, and played hard and we got a lot of scoring from different lines and the defense contributed and our goaltending was good, particularly on the extended 5-on-3 power plays. It was the game we were looking to have going into the game against Russia.”