By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston

Final, 1-0 Canada: It’s over. Canada wins 1-0.

The final minutes were a whirlwind of uninterrupted action, with Quick skating to the bench in the final minute. Canada collapsed in its own zone and stayed strong along the boards to limit the U.S., and they earned every bit of this this win.

The U.S. played hard, with John Carlson breaking up a 2-on-1 with 2:40 left to play and Ryan McDonagh dropping to the ice to block a Jeff Carter empty-net bid. Alas, Canada was just too good, and it’ll be another four years without a gold medal for U.S. hockey.

The United States will play Finland tomorrow for the bronze medal in a game that just won’t have the same flash as a gold medal matchup with Sweden would have had.

Jonathan Quick stopped 36 of 37 shots and was the best player for the U.S. Ryan Suter was the ice team leader with over 26 minutes on the ice, while Zach Parise was credited with eight shots on net.

Third period, 4:47, 1-0 Canada: Canada still leads by a goal, and it remains that way because of Jonathan Quick, who made an unreal toe save on a point-blank shot from Chris Kunitz in front and took up enough of the net to force a wide backhand shot on the rebound.

Time is running out now for the U.S., which is still looking to create its first excellent scoring opportunity of the period.

Third period, 7:30, 1-0 Canada: The penalty is killed, thanks in large part to Ryan Callahan’s blood and guts effort to throw his body in front of a pair of slap shots.

Third period, 10:04, 1-0 Canada: And all of that momentum goes down the drain, as Phil Kessel hooked Chris Kunitz on a 2-on-2 rush. Kessel to the box for two.

Third period, 10:20, 1-0 Canada: Desperation is setting in fro the U.S., as the Americans are finally starting to win some races and battles to create chances. It hasn’t led to a great chance just yet, but they only need one.

Third period, 13:34, 1-0 Canada: A beauty of an opportunity for the U.S., as Kane was stood up on the rush but was able to softly leave the puck for Zach Parise. But Parise’s long shot went right into Price’s chest, an easy save for him, nullifying the chance.

Third period, 15:06, 1-0 Canada: Jonathan Quick just made a series of saves as the Crosby line sustained some heavy pressure in the offensive zone. Quick turned them aside before Crosby’s diving shot attempt went wide, as Quick once again kept his team in this one. He’s been the best U.S. player today by far.

Third period, 17:27, 1-0 Canada: A disjointed start to the third period, as play hasn’t really been sustained for more than 30 seconds without a whistle. Neither team has really been able to settle the puck down and make a play, perhaps an indication of some third-period jitters.

Third period, 20:00, 1-0 Canada: Third period under way. Twenty minutes to decide this one.

End of second period, 1-0 Canada: The second period comes to an end without much excitement in the final minutes, and it’s now a 20-minute game.

Like I just said previously, the U.S. is going to have to head to the dirty areas to get the job done. That starts in their own zone, where they haven’t played nearly strong enough, and it’ll end in the corners and in front of the net down the other end. Team Canada’s defense, which carried the load in terms of scoring earlier in the tournament, has been stout so far on the back end today, and the only way the Americans are going to beat them is with some hard work.

Shots are at 28-22 in favor of Canada right now, with the U.S. 0-for-3 on power plays.

Second period, 1:08, 1-0 Canada: Once again, the power play didn’t produce much of anything, but just after the penalty expired, Stastny got a series of point-blank chances near the right post. Stastny jammed away several times, but Price made a couple of saves before one of Stastny’s attempts went wide. It looks like it might take a dirty goal like that for the U.S. to get on the board, because the pretty plays haven’t been there.

Second period, 4:37, 1-0 Canada: Another opportunity for the U.S., as Chris Kunitz heads to the box for … I’m not sure. He got a stick in on Quick’s pads after the goalie covered up the puck, and that was enough to draw a penalty under international rules. That’s a nothing play in the NHL, but international rules make it clear that you can’t touch the goalie.

The power play hasn’t exactly been a point of strength for the U.S. thus far.

Second period, 5:55, 1-0 Canada: Jonathan Quick just made the save of the game to keep this one at 1-0. Brooks Orpik fell asleep with the puck on his stick in the corner behind the U.S. net and got pickpocketed by Cory Perry. Perry passed over to Benn for a one-time rocket, but Quick flew right to left to make a sprawling save with the left pad. Huge save, and it saved Orpik some further embarrassment. (Orpik is not suited whatsoever to be playing on this stage.)

Second period, 8:42, 1-0 Canada: Things aren’t going exceptionally well for the U.S., but Patrick Kane nearly set up the game-tying goal. He wheeled behind the net and threw a backhand through the crease, but Max Pacioretty was unable to bury the puck into the empty side of the net.

The U.S. is losing a lot of puck battles, particularly in the defensive end, and it’s leading to a host of extra opportunities for Canada. That’s a dangerous way to live.

Second period, 14:00, 1-0 Canada: The U.S. got just one real opportunity on the man advantage, with Kane sending a hard pass to Parise on the doorstep. But Parise’s redirect was stopped by Price, who had himself in good position with a good read on the play. Price just got his toe on the shot and it was quite the effort.

Second period, 16:44, 1-0 Canada: The U.S. has responded well to giving up the goal, and now the Americans will be going on the power play. Ryan Getzlaf caught Patrick Kane in the face with his stick, and the U.S. gets its second power play of the night.

Second period, 18:19, 1-0 Canada:  Canada scores the first goal of the game.

Jay Bouwmeester was left with too much space on the left point, and Bouwmeester sent a hard pass toward the mess of bodies in front. Jamie Benn was there to redirect it past Quick for the game’s first goal.

The U.S. collectively got caught a little too deep in their own zone, giving Bouwmeester a lot of room to take Benn’s pass and scan his options before sending it back toward Benn. That was just a brief lapse, but it proved costly.

Second period, 19:15, 0-0: Pavelski and Kessel had a 2-on-1 opportunity, but Toews’ relentless work on the backcheck broke it up and stifled the chance. Once again, the U.S. opened a period with a strong rush.

Second period, 20:00, 0-0: Here we go, second period has begun.

End of first period, 0-0: The U.S. generated absolutely nothing on the power play. In fact, the Americans had two defensive zone faceoffs on their power play. It was as bad as the unit has looked all tournament, which makes sense considering it hasn’t gone up against a team quite like Canada. Patrice Bergeron was everywhere doing everything on the first half of the kill.

The two teams head to their respective locker rooms knotted up at 0-0. Canada has played with better speed and has created more opportunities for themselves, but Quick has been the difference thus far. Canada has the 16-11 lead in shots, and they really outplayed the U.S. in the second half of that period.

But the U.S. hung in there, and they’re far from getting dominated. It’ll be interesting to see how they change their approach in the second period, because they’ve had some trouble gaining entry into the zone and maintaining possession. That issue really stood out on the power play.

First period, 4:02, 0-0: James van Riemsdyk led a rush and pulled up after crossing the blue line, sending a soft pass for Joe Pavelski. Marleau interfered with Pavelski and he’ll head to the box.

First period, 6:34, 0-0: The U.S. killed off the penalty, with Jonathan Quick coming up huge when Sidney Crosby walked in all alone with a backhand chance. Quick made the stop on Canada’s best power play opportunity, and the game remains tied at zero.

First period, 9:07, 0-0: The first power play of the game goes to Canada, as Ryan Suter gets called for holding. Suter, paired with Faulk on this shift, grabbed Jeff Carter’s stick on a rush, and he’ll head to the box for two minutes.

First period, 10:32, 0-0-: A close call off a defensive zone faceoff for the U.S., as Ryan McDonagh put a shot on his own net. Fortunately for the U.S., Quick had his stick down on the ice and was able to turn it away. But going against Canada is enough of a challenge, I don’t think the U.S. needs to put shots on Quick to add to the degree of difficulty.

First period, 12:38, 0-0: A bad bounce off a U.S. skate set up Patrick Sharp with a chance from in close, but Quick glided right to left to cover the net and make the save. It’s been all about goaltending through the first seven-plus minutes. Price has eight saves, while Quick has seven.

First period, 14:35, 0-0: It looked like the U.S. was about to take a 1-0 lead, but Carey Price’s glove hand said no.

Kessel passed to John Carlson in the high slot, and he fired on net through traffic. Price made the glove save while falling onto his back, denying the Americans again.

First period, 18:15, 0-0: Canada gets its first chance on a long wrister from Bergeron that produced a juicy rebound off the chest of Quick. Bergeron put a backhand bid on net, but Quick was up to the task. Seconds later, Drew Doughty entered the zone with speed and put a hard shot on net, but Quick was able to squeeze his right arm tight to his body and make the save.

High energy early on. No surprise there.

First period, 19:40, 0-0: Just 20 seconds into the game, Phil Kessel showed a burst down the right wing and slipped past the defense for a chance all alone. Price made the save hugging the left post, preventing an early goal.

First period, 20:00: We are under way!

Toews line vs. Pavelski line to start. Here we go.

11:57 a.m.: Minutes from puck drop. Things should get crazy pretty shortly.

10 a.m.: This is it.

Well, it’s not it, as the winner of today’s game will still have to win one more to earn a gold medal. But still. This is it.

The two participants of the 2010 gold medal game, the United States and Canada, will face off today in a semifinal matchup in Sochi. The winner will move on to play for gold on Sunday. The loser will toil for bronze on Saturday.

While Sweden — which advanced to the gold medal game earlier on Friday — is a highly talented team, the U.S. and Canada are the two best teams in this tournament. Though the Canadians has had a more difficult time putting it all together, they still have the most fearsome roster out there. If you thought last weekend’s U.S.-Russia matchup was a tough one for the Americans, wait till you see this one.

We already know that defenseman Paul Martin will be out. It was initially reported to be due to an illness, but Fox Sports’ Julie Stewart-Binks said Martin is wearing a cast on his hand. (For what it’s worth, Finnish netminder Tuukka Rask missed the earlier semifinal due to illness.) Martin’s absence will mean playing time for Justin Faulk, the 21-year-old D-man of the Carolina Hurricanes. He hasn’t played yet in this tournament, but that changes today.

This game will come down to some timely goaltending, and you’d think the U.S. has the advantage in that department with Jonathan Quick. He’s played in big games before and he’s won a Conn Smythe and a Stanley Cup. On the other side, today marks the biggest game of Carey Price’s life. Who will crack first?

The U.S. also has to concern itself with putting an extra emphasis on covering the points. For as dangerous as the Canadian forwards may be on paper, it has been the defensemen that has gotten them to this point. Shea Weber and Drew Doughty have combined for seven goals and four assists in Canada’s four games, while Jeff Carter is the only forward with more than one goal. Stepping in front of point blasts from Weber and Doughty will require a team-wide effort and focus for the U.S.

Canada definitely has not had the scoring depth you’d expect from a lineup of that caliber, with Jamie Benn, Patrick Sharp and Ryan Getzlaf as the only other players to score a goal thus far. Some could say that’s a sign that Canada is a bit disjointed, but you could also make the case that some all-world forwards are overdue to start burying their chances.

By contrast, 12 different Americans have scored goals, led by Phil Kessel’s five. David Backes has three, Paul Stastny and Dustin Brown each have two, and eight skaters have one goal each.

We can’t know how this one will turn out, but it’s safe to expect an all-time classic. The puck drops around noon ET, so stick with the live blog throughout the day for updates and analysis right through the final whistle.

Read more from Michael Hurley by clicking here, or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.


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