In their second of three round robin games, Team Canada takes on Austria on their campaign for a second straight gold medal. A win should set up a showdown for the top spot in Group B with Finland on Sunday.
Canada vs. Norway (Group B)
Game time: 12 p.m. ET, 9 p.m. Sochi time
TV: USA Network (USA), CBC (Canada)
Streaming: NBCOlympics.com (USA), Olympics.CBC.ca (Canada)
After a subpar game from the top line of Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, and Jeff Carter, expect some different line combinations in this game as Mike Babcock will continue to tinker in order to find the ideal lineup. In Vancouver he didn't settle on lines until essentially the gold medal game, with players moving around based on performance. The focus for these first two games is clearly on evaluation.
With that in mind, reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban draws into the lineup over Dan Hamhuis, which should allow Canada to create more speed through the neutral zone, something that was lacking at times against Norway on Thursday. Subban will also be used on the powerplay, where his elite shot is among the most dangerous weapons in the entire tournament.
Matt Duchene also joins the lineup, though Team Canada hasn't announced yet who will be out of the lineup. Odds are it won't be Jamie Benn, who was flat out dominant against Norway. Duchene's speed should match well with Benn, providing the fourth line with the ability to open up defensive schemes and put defenders on their heels. Combining those two with the incredible smarts and defensive acumen of Patrice Bergeron, and Canada's 4th line might be better than their first line, at least for now.
After winning Olympic gold with Canada in 2010, Roberto Luongo started the Sochi Olympics on the bench, taking the back seat to the younger (and better) Carey Price. Friday though, he gets his shot at reclaiming the starting job against Austria. Price will be watching from the stands, oddly enough, as Mike Smith will be the backing up Luongo.
The Austrians don't have the depth that Norway does, but they do have three legitimate offensive threats in Thomas Vanek, Michael Grabner, and Michael Raffl. Grabner scored a hat trick against Tuukka Rask in Austria's first game of the tournament, so this may be a real challenge for Luongo.