That Derek Stepan is Team USA's captain says a lot about why we keep saying his future is key for the Ranger's. Stepan has gone from being just a one way offensive machine to a solid 2 way forward who can be used in all situations.
Ryan Bourque is being used on the 2nd line at left wing, Chris Kreider on the 3rd line and Luke Walker on the 4th line. It will be interesting to see if at any point the 3 Ranger draft picks are united as a unit.
All 3 bring a ton of speed to their game and that might be key to how well the USA does.
As for the game itself, a bad penalty that gives Slovakia a 5 minute power play then a 2 man advantage has led to Slovakia jumping out to a 2-0 lead. The USA simply has not been able to get anything going due to the early power play for Slovakia.
Both Stepan and Bourque have been used on the penalty kill but neither have had any chance to do anything on offense. USA has been out hit and out played for the first half of this period.
Walker with a nice hit deep in the US offensive zone, playing on the USA energy line led to a draw in the offensive zone which John Carlson turned into a goal which for now is being credited to Stepan. Life is funny as last season at this time John Carlson was Michael Del Zotto's partner with the London Knights.
Everyone including us swore that Carlson would be in the Cap's lineup and Del Zotto would be here at the WJC. Carlson is here while Del Zotto is playing as we speak at the Garden.
For those of you bouncing back in forth between games; Stepan wears 21, Bourque 17, Kreider 20 and Walker 14.
Kreider is playing wing on Stepan's power play unit while Bourque in a surprise is not used on the power play. Walker had a scoring chance that was stopped as the US is rolling 4 lines.
For all the talk about Kreider's speed, it is his defense that is catching our eye. Very good on the back check, quick to make plays in his defensive zone. Might be an explanation as to why Kreider despite his low offensive numbers remains on the Boston College top line.
First Intermission interview with CAPTAIN Derek Stepan. He better be good or else we will start using his nickname from his prep days.
3 hours ago