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Olympics Stories

Comparing the best lines for Canada and the U.S. through 2 games

theScore logo theScore 2018-02-13

The women's hockey tournament at PyeongChang 2018 is underway, and to little surprise, the U.S. and Canada have rocketed out of the gate to 2-0 starts.

Although both teams are much deeper than any of the other entrants in the tournament, the top lines for both powerhouses were expected to be integral to their success, each boasting some of the biggest superstars in the modern game.

After two games, we break down how the top lines for Canada and the U.S. have fared thus far and what that may forecast for Thursday's hotly anticipated showdown.

Agosta-Daoust-Poulin unstoppable for Canada

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Player Goals Assists
Meghan Agosta 1 2
Melodie Daoust 3
Marie-Philip Poulin 1 3

It seems almost unfair to stack this much talent on one line. Meghan Agosta, Melodie Daoust, and Marie-Philip Poulin are putting on an absolute clinic in PyeongChang through two games, recording 11 total points. Poulin, considered by many to be the best player in the world, exists on an entirely different plane from everyone else, as exhibited by her second goal against Finland. The Canadian captain burst toward Finnish stalwart Noora Raty and deposited a backhand so swiftly that the officials only noticed it upon video review. Poulin's heroics in Vancouver and Sochi have already cemented her legendary status, but this may be her best overall tournament yet.

Agosta and Daoust have been remarkable as well, with the latter notching two goals in the opener against the Russian team. Agosta - who's earned gold in Turin, Vancouver, and Sochi - is dicing opposing defenses with pinpoint cross-ice passing, finding her linemates in stride on numerous occasions. She could break Hayley Wickenheiser's career record for Olympic goals by the end of the tournament and is dominating with outstanding vision and finishing ability.

Daoust, meanwhile, is playing with unrivaled clarity and calm, and has been a menace in the offensive zone through two games. The veteran fooled the entire Finnish defense Tuesday, faking a slap shot from the point before a perfectly timed snipe to give Canada a 3-0 lead. Daoust can terrorize the defense from nearly anywhere past the blue line - an asset Canada is using to full advantage. This line may be unguardable.

It's an admittedly small sample, but Agosta, Daoust, and Poulin are a force to be reckoned with, and it's scary to imagine they could improve as the tournament progresses.

Coyne-Decker-Knight's slow start doesn't matter

PlayerGoalsAssists
Kendall Coyne 1 0
Brianna Decker 0 1
Hilary Knight 0

Kendall Coyne, Brianna Decker, and Hilary Knight were expected to be the focal point of the U.S. attack, but through two games, the high-powered line has sputtered. It hasn't affected the team's results, however, and the star trio could be poised for a breakout performance Thursday.

They were held to a single power-play goal against Finland, but their impact on the game was still profound - at least if you ask the opposing goaltender.

"Knighter got there out of the corner, I need to commit to her because she's the best shot in the world," Raty said, according to MLive's Peter J. Wallner. "So for once she actually passed, and hats off to Coyner. She went top shelf. Really nice goal."

Ordinarily, it would be alarming if a leading contender's top line failed to produce adequately during the round robin, but the U.S. is getting balanced scoring. Jocelyne Lamoureux dominated in Tuesday's 5-0 win over the Olympic Athletes from Russia, setting an Olympic record with two goals in six seconds, while Gigi Marvin and Dani Cameranesi have done a great job of crashing the net and causing havoc.

It's indicative of the overall talent level that the U.S. can withstand a slow start from its top line, but after dominating the 2017 World Championship, it seems like a matter of time before Coyne, Decker, and Knight make an indelible mark on PyeongChang.

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