Both teams got off to a bit of a tenative start, with chances traded back and forth as the two teams settled into the contest.
Dustin Brown had the best chance to put the U.S. up early, breaking in on Luongo with 10:09 left in the period but not quite able to stuff the puck past the goal line after it slid under Roberto Luongo’s outstretched pad before a Canadian defenseman tucked it under his pad.
But Canada followed up with some sustained pressure after Brown’s chance, and Jonathan Toews collected a rebound from a Mike Richards shot and put it past Ryan Miller with 12:50 elapsed in the contest to put the U.S. behind for the first time in the tournament.
The hosts had a chance to boost their lead when Bobby Ryan was called for tripping Dany Heatley with 5:58 left in the period, but the U.S. was able to kill off the power-play, thanks to a nice Miller save on a break by Eric Staal. But the score remained the same through 20 minutes, with Canada holding a slight 10-8 lead in shots.
Staal had a golden chance to boost the lead off a bad tournover in the U.S. zone, but Miller was able to hold his ground and keep the U.S. down just one. Ryan Malone put the United States a man down again, but Miller stood tall, making a nice save on Joe Thornton during the successful kill.
Staal then gave the U.S. its first chance with the extra-man with 4:41 gone in the frame, but the Americans couldn’t generate much offense despite the advantage. Right after the kill, Miller had to make a great save, but a bad play by U.S. defenseman Ryan Whitney led to Corey Perry’s goal with 7:13 gone in the period.
The Americans got another chance with the extra man as Toews was called for tripping Ryan Suter, and got a couple of nice chances with the momentum gained with the extra man, but Luongo made a nice stop on Paul Statsny to keep the U.S. off the board.
But the U.S. finally got on the board with 7:16 left in the frame as Ryan Kesler tipped in a shot from Patrick Kane which got through Kesler’s NHL teammate, Luongo to give the U.S. new life and cut the Canadian lead in half.
The U.S. got some momentum following the tally, as Suter nearly tied the game up with just under four minutes to play, narrowly missing a shot that eluded Luongo. Canada nearly got one shortly after on a nice drive by Rick Nash, but Mike Richards couldn’t quite connect on his feed out front.
Canada nearly took a 3-1 lead in the first minute of the third when Shea Weber’s shot was inadvertently deflected by Suter, but it hit the left post. Chris Pronger’s drive in the next minute just hit the right post, keeping the U.S. down by a single goal. Another bad turnover nearly turned into another Canadian goal, as Kane turned over the puck, but Miller made three great saves on Patrick Marleau and Heatley to preserve the Americans’ hopes.
The U.S. turned up the pressure as time began to run out, with the Canadians hanging back and content to let the Americans carry the play. Zach Parise and Brian Rafalski had some good chances in close to pull the U.S. even, but Luongo was able to make the saves when he needed to.
Crosby had a chance to put the tournament away with just over three minutes to play, but couldn’t convert on a breakaway chance on Miller.
The U.S. pulled their netminder with 90 seconds left to try and get the equalizer, and Parise scored on a rebound of a Kane shot on Luongo during a scramble in front to tie the game with :24.4 left to play.
The two teams then hit the ice for a four-on-four overtime session for the first time since Canada’s last gold-medal loss, to Sweden in Lillehammer in 1994. With Canada pushed to make up for the late blown lead, with 2002 hero Jarome Iginla and Marleau nearly scoring in the session’s first five minutes. Heatley and Nash also had good scoring chances, but Miller held strong to keep the sudden-death period going.
Then Crosby picked up a pass from Iginla in the corner and beat Miller along the far post with a shot 7:40 into the extra-session, giving the Canadians gold.