Tale of the Tape: The U.S. vs. Canada in women's hockey

Julie Foudy gets a hockey lesson from Olympians Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight and Kendall Coyne and talks about Team USA's quest for gold in Pyeongchang.

This story appears in GOLD RUSH: powered by espnW, a special collaboration with ESPN The Magazine for its Feb. 19 issue. Subscribe today!

Canada and the U.S. The U.S. and Canada. After 20 years of rivalry, if it boils down to these two again, who will have the edge?







THE HISTORY


USA:
Since 2010, the U.S. has won nine of 14 vs. Canada in Olympic or world championship play and outscored it 45-32. The U.S. has taken the last four world titles, including the most recent one in 2017.

CANADA:
Canada has won the past four Olympic golds -- and beat the U.S. in four December friendlies --so it is carrying some major momentum into these Games.

ADVANTAGE: Canada







GOALTENDING


USA:
U.S. hopes between the pipes fall to three first-time Olympians: Maddie Rooney, Alex Rigsby and Nicole Hensley. All three are sound, but it's Rooney who has three recent wins over Canada in international play.

CANADA:
Canada returns the dependable Shannon Szabados, who won the past two gold medal games against the U.S., including a shutout in 2010. Her decorated Olympic record includes a .966 save percentage.

ADVANTAGE: Canada







SPECIAL TEAMS


USA:
Power plays and penalty kills are as much about percentages as chances, and here the U.S. excels. In the past four Olympics or worlds, the U.S. has converted 33.7 percent of power plays and killed 88.9 percent.

CANADA:
In the past four years, Canada has faced a disadvantage 80 times but maintained a PK of 82.5 percent. And our last memory of 2014? Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin scoring on a power play to steal gold from the U.S.



ADVANTAGE: USA





OFFENSE


USA:
The U.S. can light the lamp, with Amanda Kessel, Kendall Coyne, Hilary Knight and reigning NWHL MVP Brianna Decker leading the attack. Coyne and Decker led all scorers at the 2017 worlds.

Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

Canada's Marie-Philip Poulin

CANADA:
Canada features the world's top player in 26-year-old captain Poulin. Already the seventh-leading scorer in Canadian history, she joins with Meghan Agosta and Natalie Spooner to form a potent attack.

ADVANTAGE: USA







HEAD TO HEAD, STAR VS. STAR


USA:
The Americans boast aggressive forward Hilary Knight. In her international career, Knight has tallied 99 goals and 76 assists in 150 games, including 14 points in 10 Olympic games.

CANADA:
Poulin is filling up her trophy case: two Olympic gold medals, two consecutive CWHL MVPs. She scored two goals each in the 2010 and 2014 gold medal games, killing U.S. hopes each time.

ADVANTAGE: Canada







CLUTCH TIME


USA:
Let's get it out of the way: The U.S. took a 2-1 lead into the final two minutes of the Sochi gold medal game before missing an empty-netter, allowing the tying goal with 55 seconds left and losing in OT. That hurts.

CANADA:
In 16 OT or shootout games that the U.S. and Canada have played against each other since 2010, Canada has a 9-7 edge. But Canada has dropped the past two world championship finals in OT.

ADVANTAGE: USA







OVERALL ADVANTAGE: CANADA


Canada and the U.S. meet in pool play on Feb. 14, but a gold medal game matchup between No. 1 and No. 2 seems likely. Canada enters 2018 on a 20-game Olympics winning streak; the U.S. boasts a bevy of scorers. Was that U.S. Sochi collapse just bad luck? Possibly. But with Canada's edge between the pipes, that gold is destined for the cold.

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