By: Pat Caputo

The United States and Canada have met twice in the Olympics during the NHL era, each in the gold medal game. Canada won close encounters in 2002 at Salt Lake City and 2010 at Vancouver (in overtime). But the third time figures to be a charm for the Americans vs. Canada in Friday’s semifinals at the Sochi Olympics.

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These are three reasons why:

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1. Team USA has shown more scoring firepower in this tournament than Canada. Four of the Top 11 goal scorers in the NHL are Americans., five Canadian, but so far the Americans have displayed a much better knack for putting the biscuit in the basket in the Olympics. Canada struggled to score two goals against Latvia. Wow.

2. The Americans, simply put, have the edge in goal with Jonathan Quick over Carey Price. Their resumes aren’t even close.

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3. In 2010, the Americans beat Canada in a preliminary round game and have beaten Canada numerous times at the World Junior Championships. This is the biggest, fastest, strongest, deepest and most-skilled U.S. Olympic hockey team ever. The Canadians are still formidable, but will have their hands full with the Americans Friday. Too full to likely win.