USA fights for 3rd place against Slovakia

Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

It's kind of surprising that the USA has ended up in this situation, but if they don't beat Slovakia they're in serious trouble.

After playing mostly pretty excellent over three games, the USA has somehow managed to win only against Germany. They've outshot their opponents every game, which is a sign that success could be coming over the long term, but tournaments aren't long.

Part of the USA's snakebitten scoring is definitely due to the amount of shots that come from defensemen, but Jacob Trouba has also scored the only two goals for the USA that weren't against the Germans. The onus really is on the forward corps of the US.

Part of that forward corps is Montreal Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk, who has only one goal, but has 5 points in 3 games, setting up both of Trouba's goals and factoring in on 50% of the goals scored by the Americans so far. Galchenyuk the USA in points by 2, is tied for first in +/- with a +3 rating, and has been disciplined, only taking one penalty. Yet somehow he isn't getting much ice time.

The American coach, former NHL great Phil Housley, has instead relied upon the ineffective Rocco Grimaldi (1 assist), J.T. Miller (1 goal), and Cole Bardreau (1 assist). The supposed top line just isn't getting it done, and if the US plans on bettering their 7th place finish from the 2012 World Juniors, they should take advantage of the talent that they do have.

Game time is 5:00AM EST on TSN.

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