SOCHI, Russia – If not quite the underdog, Drew Doughty believes, at the very least, that the Canadi

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SOCHI, Russia – If not quite the underdog, Drew Doughty believes, at the very least, that the Canadians are being overlooked, doubted and probably even overly dissected heading into Fridays semifinal matchup with the Americans. Vapormax Flyknit 3 Ale . "I think a lot of people are counting us out," said Doughty. "If everyone wants to count us out, were going to use that as motivation." Doughty wouldnt go quite so far as to label Team Canada as the underdog, but its clear that the overwhelming degree of scrutiny has some members of the squad feeling as though theyve been doubted just a little too much. "We dont see ourselves as the underdog," Doughty said, the defender leading the Canadians with four goals. "I think both teams are really evenly matched. I dont know who Id give the upper hand to at this point. Im obviously more confident in my team than I am in theirs..." Like the Americans, Canada has yet to lose in these Olympics, but unlike their rivals to the south, they failed to exactly dominate in victory, scratching out close wins over the Norwegians (3-1), Finns (2-1 overtime) and Latvians (2-1), the last of which saw the two teams tied for most of the first 53 minutes of regulation.  Head coach Mike Babcock has stressed that his team simply improves each and every day of the two-week tournament, pointing to Wednesdays struggle with the Latvians as a needed bit of adversity. Its evident, however, that the best of this Canadian team has yet to emerge. Whether it will in time for the 2010 gold medal game rematch remains in question. "Yeah were close," said Jonathan Toews after the quarterfinal win over Latvia, "not quite there yet though. Next game." Scoring concerns up front remain the most pressing issue. The Canadian forward contingent has combined for just six goals - or one more than Phil Kessel has all by himself here in Sochi - despite an overwhelming level of offensive talent. Wednesdays quarterfinal could be construed as a step in the right direction. Though they snuck just two by Kristers Gudlevskis, they managed nearly 60 shots and had numerous opportunities. Sidney Crosby, who had a breakaway in the opening minute, remains the most notable Canadian forward yet to score, but hes joined by Jonathan Toews, Corey Perry, Rick Nash, Patrick Marleau, Chris Kunitz, Martin St. Louis, Matt Duchene, and Patrice Bergeron – essentially everyone but Jeff Carter, Jamie Benn, Ryan Getzlaf and Patrick Sharp. Symmetry appears to finally be forming though.  Unlike the previous four games, which saw the lines differ just about every night, Babcock will keep his forward combinations intact for the tilt against the Americans – save for the injured John Tavares (leg) – hopeful that theyll translate into actual production with elimination on the line. "You can talk scoring chances till youre blue in the face, who cares? The score is on the board, and so weve just got to find a way to keep doing what were doing," said Babcock. "I think we like the fact that were getting a lot of chances in and around the net," said Crosby, who remains alongside Kunitz and Bergeron. "We trust theyre going to go in a little bit more if we keep getting those. I think we just try to stay the course and make sure that we focus on burying those." Theyll have to do so against the seemingly unflappable Jonathan Quick. A rock for the L.A. Kings in the postseason – he has a .940 save percentage combined in the past two springs – Quick has stopped 72 of 77 shots in three starts for Team USA, fronted by an offence thats managed 20 goals in four games. "When he gets hot, when he makes some big saves early, he seems to become unbeatable, said Doughty, who captured the Cup with Quick in 2012. "And thats why weve got to get one early on him. The only way were going to score on him is weve got to get pucks up high and weve got to get screens in front and tips." Countering Quick will be Carey Price – who has stopped 48 of 51 shots – and a stiff defensive Canadian unit thats yielded just two even-strength goals all tournament and average of fewer than 19 shots against. If theres been an obvious strength to Canadas game on the bigger Olympic ice, its been the ability to defend and defend by controlling the possession of the puck. Continuing that against an American attack fronted by Kessel, who leads the tournament with eight points, will be a new and far more difficult challenge. Crosby was among the group of Canadian players who took in the Americans classic tilt with Russia in the preliminary round and was struck, above all else, with just how fast they were as a group. He and his teammates believe theyre ready for such a fight though even if others arent quite so sure. "At this point whether we beat three favourites or zero, nobodys going to really think about that or talk about that if we get the result we want [Friday] and win the game," he said. "Our groups real confident," Babcock added. "We like what weve done. We like how our team is. We think were set up good right now. And that, to me, is the most important thing." Vapormax 2020 . LaQuinton Ross scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half, hitting his first four 3-pointers, to send No. Nike Vapormax Miehet . -- Coyotes coach Dave Tippett thinks of one thing when he watches Eastern Conference teams struggle against Western opponents before they get to Phoenix: His team must keep pace. http://www.vapormaxsuomi.com/vapormax-97-ale.html . JOHNS, N.ST. CATHARINES, Ont. - Zach Fucales teammates on Canadas world junior team can tell when hes comfortable between the pipes. They can hear it.Hes always yapping, hes always talking to guys, Connor McDavid said. He never shuts up on the ice.Fucale has the kind of relaxed personality that makes him well-suited for a goaltending competition with Eric Comrie ahead of the world junior championships. But its also a good attitude to have after reports surfaced that the 19-year-old will be traded from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey Leagues Halifax Mooseheads to the Quebec Remparts once the tournament is over.I cant control those things, whats happening back there, the Rosemere, Que., native said Wednesday. Im right here, right now with Team Canada and Im with a great group of guys, great staff here. Im not worried about that and Im just focused on helping this team.Fucale and Comrie were the only goaltenders Hockey Canada brought to its world junior selection camp this week, and coach Benoit Groulx has called it an open competition between them. Somehow that hasnt bothered Fucale, even though he was the No. 1 goalie on last years team.Me and Coms, we have the same goal in mind and thats to win, Fucale said. Whoevers in there, were going to help the team win as much as we can, and thats all we can do. I feel comfortable in the net and so does Coms.Groulx, who coaches the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL, said he likes Fucales competitiveness. Groulx noted Fucale played 58 games as a 16-year-old and then helped Halifax win the 2013 Memorial Cup.Hes been through many big games in his career, Groulx said. I think that he carries that confidence with him. He competes hard.Fucale will start in goal for Canada on Friday night in its first international game, an exhibition against Russia at Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Thats a nod to his past success and his status as the front-runner in the goalie competition.In 24 QMJHL games this season, Fucale is 13-11 with a 3.20 goals-againsst average and . Nike Vapormax Plus Suomi. 890 save percentage. But those numbers are due in part to the Mooseheads rebuilding group.Theres a lot of things that influence stats and a lot of things happen. Im not worried about it, Fucale said. I know, my teammates know and my goalie coach and I have been working hard. I feel Im doing very good things on and off the ice. Those things will pay off.Groulx pointed to Halifaxs bad start and a barrage of injuries as reasons for Fucales numbers dropping off. He also knows another season in the same junior league can take a toll.When its your fourth year in the league and youve been playing with three solid teams and then youve to come back for a fourth one, sometimes its tough to start the engine, Groulx said. But I thought he got better in November. He had an outstanding game against Russia at the Subway Series. I think he feels good about himself now. Hes mentally ready. Thats what hes showing us on the ice.Fucale brushed off talk about being traded, reports that came out of Quebec on Wednesday. He cant officially be sent to the Remparts, who are loading up for a Memorial Cup run, until January when the world junior tournament is over.That allows him to put trade talk aside for now.Im not focused on that, Fucale said. I cant control what goes on over there. Im just concentrating on helping this team win.Groulx wants Fucale to be himself in net, especially if that means chirping to stay on his game. One thing hes not worried about is the trade distracting Fucale.With the experience hes got, I dont think hell look further ahead, Groulx said. If that part is true, hes going to the Memorial Cup again. Its not a bad thing for him. I really feel that right now I dont see anyone here having his focus anywhere else than with this team.Note — Groulx said McDavid, forward Nic Petan and defenceman Joe Hicketts would not play against Russia. Thats an indication their spots on the 22-man roster are safe.---Follow @SWhyno on Twitter ' ' '

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