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Everywhere, it seemed, there were tie-ins to America's past Olympic successes. The players wore uniforms patterned after those of the '60 Olympic gold-medal team from Squaw Valley that, until Sunday, was the last to beat Canada in the Olympics.
So far, it's been a bad year for Canadian hockey teams facing Americans. Only last month, the U.S. stunned Canada in Saskatoon to win the world junior championships, a tournament that is widely followed in Canada.
That upset, of course, does not begin to compare to this. The Canadian Olympic team is considered to be more talented than the team that finished seventh in Turin in 2006, yet it was outplayed by the United States after requiring a shootout to beat Switzerland.
Canada must beat Germany on Tuesday merely to make it to the quarterfinals, where Russia awaits in a game that was anticipated to take place in the finals. And coach Mike Babcock has a goaltender controversy; Brodeur was below average and there is pressure to start Roberto Luongo, who shut out Norway 8-0.
"Without emotion, I'll watch the game and I'll make my decision after that," coach Mike Babcock said. "We would've liked to be better in that area."
Some Canadian players, including defenseman Chris Pronger, poked fun at the Americans' pregame comments about the intensity they felt opposing Canada. By the end, Ryan Kesler's goal with 45 seconds remaining, the Canadians looked like they could have used some of that urgency and motivation.
Canada's stars were average -- Crosby scored a goal, but didn't stand out on many shifts, and Brodeur made uncustomary mistakes, such as giving the puck away on Rafalski's second goal of the first period.
The Canadians aren't out of it, but it was obvious how disappointed they are in their supposed dream team. Canada Hockey Place was rocking and rolling for most of the game, but by game's end had transformed into a mournful quiet.
"It was a great atmosphere, but we didn't use that to our advantage," Jonathan Toews said.
Winning a gold medal in its national sport in this home-ice Olympics is considered a must for the Vancouver Games to be a success in Canada. That will require quite a comeback effort.
"It is probably not where we wanted to be. But that is where we are now," Crosby said. "When you get to this point in the tournament it is not going to be easy and the fact we have to play an extra game isn't a terrible thing and we will be ready for it."
For the United States, the path to a medal doesn't look as adventuresome as it did a week ago.
"We know we can beat anybody now," Rafalski said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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