Russian backup stars in win over USA

Richard Wolwicz - Getty Images

Russia elected not to start Andrei Vasilevski and it paid off.

After a stellar performance against Slovakia where he saved Russia's bacon, Andrei Vasilevski sat on the bench for today's game against the USA, as Andrei Makarov took the reigns.

Makarov didn't disappoint, he was absolutely brilliant for Russia, stopping 41 of 42 shots. John Gibson was no pushover for the United States though, stopping 28 of 30 shots in the low scoring duel.

The USA had a rocky start in the first, taking four minor penalties and escaping with a 1-0 deficit by the skin of their teeth after some great penalty killing.

It wasn't until over halfway through the game that Alex Galchenyuk set up Winnipeg Jets prospect Jacob Trouba for a one-timer that tied it at 1. Galchenyuk for his part didn't see as much ice time in this game, even though he was clearly one of the best players on Team USA. Part of that was due to all the penalties, but Galchenyuk just wasn't used enough at even strength. Galchenyuk has now set up or scored 44.4% of Team USA's goals.

One of the problems the US may have had trouble creating scoring chances may be the high proportion of shots from defensemen. They have some excellent shooters on defense, but 26.2% of the team's shots came from Trouba, Seth Jones or Shayne Gostisbehere.

Russia was as Russia always is, they played fast and loose and capitalized when they had a chance. Nail Yakupov skated hard all game, but although he got a secondary assist on Albert Yarulin's opening tally, he never really looked that dangerous.

Mikhail Grigorenko however, was pretty dominant all game, and though he didn't get a point, was likely Russia's best skater.

Trouba and Makarov won player of the game honours for their respective countries.

Next up for Russia is Germany at 9:00AM EST tomorrow, and we'll have that game thread ready to go for you.

For the USA, the next game is the one we're all looking forward to, as they take on Canada at 4:30AM EST on Sunday morning.

Other news and notes:

Due to TSN not broadcasting the games, we haven't covered Sweden's start to the World Juniors, but they're 2-0 after beating Switzerland in a shootout this morning, and Montreal Canadiens prospect Sebastian Collberg has scored the opening tally for Sweden in both of their games. He had 4 shots today and has scored both his goals on beauty one-timers. Collberg looks especially dangerous on the powerplay

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