Top 5 Canada-U.S. international hockey moments

Canada's Theo Fleury looks to beat U.S. goalie Mike Richter in this 2002 Winter Olympic file photo....

Canada's Theo Fleury looks to beat U.S. goalie Mike Richter in this 2002 Winter Olympic file photo. (REUTERS)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:08 AM ET

In the modern era of international men's hockey, with NHL players in the Olympics, Canada has yet to lose a crucial game to the American.

That could change Friday in Sochi.

But if the Canadians defy the expectations of many and best the U.S. in the Sochi semifinal, it'll make Canada 3-0 against their main rival in major Olympic games.

With that in mind, here are the top 5 major international games of all-time between Canada and the Americans.

VANCOUVER 2010

Obviously this is the best one (at least for Canadians). The gold medal game from the Vancouver Olympics ended in dramatic fashion, with a long-overdue Sidney Crosby snapping the puck past stellar U.S. goalie Ryan Miller in overtime to win the gold and sending a host nation into delirium. The best team's best player scored the biggest goal possible.

1996 WORLD CUP

This one hurt. Canadian hockey supremacy suffered a huge blow -- and the best crop of American players yet officially arrived -- when the U.S. won the best-of-three final with a 5-2 win in Montreal. Mike Richter backstopped the Americans, winning tournament MVP in the process, and three of the tournament's top four scorers were American: Brett Hull, John LeClair and Doug Weight. Suddenly, America was a hockey superpower.

1991 CANADA CUP

In the fifth and final Canada Cup, Team Canada defeated the U.S. in a two-game sweep. The tournament was marred by American Gary Suter's brutal check-from-behind on Wayne Gretzky in the first game, knocking the Great One out of the tournament. Canada's Public Enemy No. 1 also had an impact on the 1998 Olympic tournament. Suter cross-checked Paul Kariya across the face in an NHL game as he celebrated a goal. Kariya suffered a concussion that forced him to miss the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, perhaps costing Canada a gold medal.

2002 OLYMPICS

Canada rules! Again! In the second Olympics to feature NHL players, the Canadian team led by Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman and Mario Lemieux, skated the U.S. into the ice in the gold-medal game, winning it 5-2. By this point, the U.S. had pretty much replaced Russia as our No. 1 international rival -- and beating them in their own country was a great moment.

1984 OLYMPICS

Welcome back to Earth, Americans. Four years after their stirring Miracle On Ice gold medal, the U.S. team entered the '84 Sarajevo Games with a lot of pressure and not much talent. They'd played a dozen exhibition games against Canada in the leadup to the Olympics, but as writer Jeff Pearlman recently noted in a great SB Nation piece on the U.S. squad, Canadian coach Dave King had held back one key strategy in those friendlies: once the puck dropped for real in the Olympics, he stuck forward Dave Tippett on U.S. star Pat LaFontaine. He shadowed him, shut him down and Canada won 4-2.

 


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