Phil Housley only made a few minor changes to Team USA’s lineup from the Slovakia game for today’s quarterfinal match-up with the Czech Republic. The U.S. will meet the Czechs at 4 a.m. ET with the game airing live on NHL Network and live streaming on NHL.com in the United States.
The biggest change was elevating Rocco Grimaldi from the 13th forward spot in which he didn’t play a single shift against Slovakia. He will join the Vince Trocheck and Tyler Biggs line as a left wing, but keep an eye on what happens with his ice time. Mario Lucia gets bumped down to the 13th forward and should slot in with that group on occasion.
Patrick Sieloff will also receive a more regular shift, paired up with Jacob Trouba. He’ll be getting more ice with Shayne Gostisbehere serving a one-game suspension.
Coming up after the jump, a quick look at the USA lines and D pairings.
15 Alex Galchenyuk – 7 Sean Kuraly – 16 Riley Barber
Mostly quiet during the Slovakia game, the U.S. will need some production out of this group today. They’ve had an up-and-down tournament, but this trio has shown some really terrific flashes. Galchenyuk is tied for second in the tournament with seven points (2g-5a) and leads Team USA.
13 John Gaudreau – 10 J.T. Miller – 26 Jimmy Vesey
Vesey really sparked this line as Gaudreau and Miller both played their best games of the tournament against Slovakia, with each recording multi-point games. Vesey is playing on his off-wing, which he looked awfully comfortable doing. This group will need to keep it rolling against a better defensive team overall in the Czechs. Gaudreau showed against Slovakia he can get behind the D and create chances, while Miller looked a lot better in both ends.
20 Blake Pietila – 18 Cole Bardreau – 21 Ryan Hartman
This group could be a hugely important line for Phil Housley today. With two legitimate scoring lines on the Czech Republic, expect a lot of shifts out of this group against the top Czech unit of Tomas Hyka-Tomas Hertl-Dimitrij Jaskin. They’ll need to play tough minutes defensively, while using their good speed to try and create some offense in transition, like they did against the Slovaks.
23 Rocco Grimaldi – 25 Vince Trocheck – 22 Tyler Biggs
This line has been only OK offensively, but really good in an energy-line type scenario. Adding Grimaldi to this group on his off wing could get a little more offensive pop out of this trio, but since it’s a new group, it remains to be seen if they can click. Getting good scoring depth will help a lot today.
12 Mario Lucia
Lucia has been OK in limited time in this tournament. He’s not generated enough offense and that’s likely a big reason he got replaced by the previously-benched Grimaldi. Lucia does give the U.S. a good option for offense down the bench and could spot in with just about any line if need be.
6 Mike Reilly – 5 Connor Murphy
This pair has been working fairly well since getting put together late against Canada. Reilly got his first goal of the tournament Monday, so he can get the offense going, but will have to pick his spots well against a good Czech squad. Murphy has been really solid all tournament and is likely to get more PP time with Gostisbehere suspended.
27 Patrick Sieloff – 8 Jacob Trouba
The terrific U18 D pair has reunited and could give the U.S. a menacing physical pair. Trouba has been the tournament’s best defenseman, while Sieloff has played effective minutes when he’s out there. These two guys know each other well and it could be interesting to see how they work together with Gostisbehere out.
19 Jake McCabe – 3 Seth Jones
This pair has been a difference-maker since getting put together late against Canada. This can be Team USA’s shut-down pair if they need it to be against the top units of the Czech Republic, while also being able to jump into the play on occasion. Expect this duo to log major minutes today.
35 John Gibson
30 Jon Gillies
Gibson has been Team USA’s MVP throughout the tournament and will need to continue his stellar play during the medal round. He was on the bench last year when the U.S. lost to the Czech Republic, so he’ll hope to make a difference this time around with some solid play. This is the time of the tournament where they goaltending can take over games.
Come back after today’s contest for a complete recap of USA-Czech Republic. Enjoy the game.