The Canada v. USA game will decide top of Group B, and if previous years tell us anythin, the game is going to be a thriller – ask John Tavares. Special teams will undoubtedly play a key role in the game. Here’s a breakdown of the USA PK and how Canada can have success. First, I’ll breakdown the key points of the USA PK, then I’ll show how Canada can use their effective PP to have success.

Aggressive 4 in 1 Quadrant PK



  • Very aggressive – all 4 in one quadrant
  • Pressure on the puck carrier: try to push players to the wall & get physical
  • Force quick plays

How to Combat

  • Account for: USA has scouted Barzal to Strome seam
  • Quick passes with support
  • Side to side passes to force rotations – cause confusion & opportunities will present themselves
  • Work off ½ wall/top of circles to have options:
  • Pass to Point – shot for tip
  • Pass to low guy – quick pass below goal line to weak side – cycle in front for chance

How The Americans Recover the Puck



  • Aggressive pressure – outman in the quadrant
  • Continuous pressure along the boards
  • Take 1v1 liberties – behind the net, deep in zone

How to Combat

  • D: don’t back off – hold the line & support
  • Outman the puck
  • USA D can be outmuscled by bigger CAN forwards – use to advantage
  • USA D will have issues containing Roy, Gauthier, Dubois (size) & Barzal with his shiftiness

Goal Against Off the Rush



  • USA uses 2 forecheck options
  • Aggressive: will send F1 behind the net to chase out
  • Relax: keep F1 high – caused by Russians flying the zone with speed

How to Generate

  • If Aggressive: D skates out with F1, trailer available for the pass with speed (where Barzal can use his skill)
  • If Relax: seam for a long cross-ice pass (see video) open to generate entry with speed
  • Have a cutting forward through the middle
  • Create lane for pass (in video) and drive to net
  • If no pass comes, set up at side of net for give & go play or set-up

Canada Adjustments


  • Use the trailing forward if USA in “aggressive” forecheck
  • Look for seam pass if USA in “relax” forecheck
  • Entry, bank or direct pass down to low forward to set up

Set-up & Generate

  • Run through Low forward
  • Use the ½ wall players (Barzal/Strome) to reset back to the point
  • Quick passes – side to side to lose coverage
  • High-low-back door play will be available

Video Breakdown


  • Barzal likely won’t have this amount of time: make pass to low forward
  • Low forward can move it out front on a one-touch pass to combat USA aggresiveness for a chance (low-high play)
  • Set up: Low forward can move it side to side or back up 1/2 wall for a shot from the point
  • Low Forward stays in spot to present option on both plays and moves to net front once puck is moved into a scoring position


  • With USA aggression, Barzal moves puck down to low F, once seam opens
  • Low F makes quick pass (1touch) to back door (Strome) for opportunity
  • The 2 quick passes will not allow USA PK to adjust
  • If pass is off to Low F: Strome moves to weak side below goal for a pass – reset OR move puck back to Barzal
  • If back door pass is off: Strome to curl, reset and move to point

One thought on “How Canada Can Have Success Against an Aggressive USA PK

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