Its been a rocky road with peaks and valleys for Bruins first round pick Malcolm Subban during his World Junior experience, and he endured a serious drop in a 5-1 loss to Team USA on Thursday afternoon. Subban was pulled after allowing four goals on 16 shots in the first two periods, and replaced with backup backstop Jordan Binnington, who allowed only a single goal the rest of the way.
Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau had a pair of goals for Team USA in the victory that puts them in the Gold Medal game, and is making the Calgary Flames look very smart for nabbing him with a fourth round pick in the 2011 NHL Draft.
While it wasnt all Subbans fault, of course, it makes for a disappointing bookend to the Belleville goaltenders shaky start to the World Junior season. Heading into Canadas final game on Saturday Subban has a 4-1 record with a .908 save percentage and 2.64 goals against average, and has been outplayed by his counterparts in Russia, the United States and Sweden.
Fellow Bruins first round pick Dougie Hamilton was on the ice for the first goal allowed to Team USA, and it was a defensive mess in front of Subbans net. The 6-foot-5 blueliner ticketed to Boston when the lockout finally does come to an end certainly didnt fare much better than Subban in a World Junior tourney that he should have dominated.
Heading into the final game against Russia, Hamilton has two points and a modest nine shots on net in five tournament games.
Above and beyond all of that Team Canada had the best player in the entire tourney, Edmonton Oilers stud Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, but none of that seemed to matter for a team that simply didnt have it in a crucial semi-final game.
Subban struggled out of the gate during exhibition play for Team Canada, and there was some question whether hed even make the squad out of training camp.
But Subban rebounded and had been playing solidly for his country until his club met a Team USA that came out flying in their match in Ufa, Russia. So now Subbans Team Canada will face off against host Team Russia on Saturday for the Bronze Medal while Team USA and Sweden will battle for the Gold.