Canada defeated a tougher than expected team from Norway yesterday by a score of 3-1. Price was tested quite often, stopping all but one of the twenty shots fired his way. He made a few big saves in the first period that kept the score knotted at zero, and bought some time for the skaters as they struggled to score.
Subban watched the opening game from the stands, but will dress in his first ever Olympic game today. He will begin the game as the seventh defenseman, but if Canada can’t find their offensive game once again, Subban will be pressed into heavier minutes.
Austria has a few current NHL players in Thomas Vanek, Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl. They also have former NHLers Thomas Pock and Andreas Nodl on the team. Austria lost their opener yesterday to Finland in convincing fashion. They led 2-1 in the first but could not keep the puck out of their own net all game and ended up losing 8-4.
Grabner led them offensively with a hat trick, but their defensive game was porous and goaltending questionable. This is not to say that Canada will have an easy time scoring today, but it appears Austria’s defense is much more penetrable than Norway’s.
This should give Subban plenty of opportunity to show off his skills to Team Canada’s coaching staff. His skating and puck moving abilities are taylor made for the big ice in Sochi, and should allow him the freedom to show he does not belong in the stands any more this tournament.
Price will not be dressed but it is assumed he is just being given time off to prepare for his start against Finland on Sunday. He played well enough against Norway that he should remain as the starter going forward no matter how well Luongo plays today.
This game should be a laugher for Canada. They had one game to get a feel for the big ice and get to know their new linemates. Not that one game is enough to become experts on their new surroundings, but Austria was lit up for eight by a Finland team missing Mikko Koivu and Val Filppula who would have been their top two centers.
The only way Luongo could wrestle the crease away from Price going forward, would be with a 30 plus save shutout. He may very well get the shutout, but Austria wouldn’t get more than 30 shots in a seven game series against Canada.