TORONTO -- Team North America tries to stay alive today at 3 against Sweden and will do it without its Stanley Cup-winning goalie.
Pittsburgh Penguins spring star Matt Murray, who went from minor-leaguer in April to Cup winner in June, has an injured thumb and will not dress. Anaheim's John Gibson will play and Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck will back up.
Coach Todd McLellan said Murray is day to day and isn't ruling him out if Team North America advances. The loss of Murray is particularly tough because he was a demon last spring in Pittsburgh after losses, going unbeaten in the playoffs in such situations. Murray was pulled after giving up four goals in a 6:14 span of Monday's 4-3 loss to Russia.
Team North America is already without defenseman Aaron Eklbad, who has returned home to Florida with a concussion. Columbus defenseman Ryan Murray is banged up and will take the warmup to see if he can play. If he can't, Team NA could be looking at a lineup of 13 forwards and just five defensemen.
If that happens? Said McLellan: "We'll play."
It's a tough task for Team NA. Sweden has a vaunted defense led by goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and blueliners Victor Hedman, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Niklas Hjalmarsson, and has given up just one goal in two games.
"Did we save the best for last? I don't know. The tournament will have to sort that out," McLellan said. "But when I look at their lineup, there's a number of players who have played some real important hockey in their careers. Their blueline is very strong and they have a veteran goaltender who can win games on his own."