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Team North America

Goalie John Gibson to start for Team North America

Matt Murray unavailable for World Cup preliminary-round finale vs. Team Sweden because of thumb injury

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Goaltender John Gibson will start for Team North America in place of Matt Murray against Team Sweden on Wednesday in a World Cup of Hockey 2016 preliminary-round game at Air Canada Centre (3 p.m. ET; ESPN, SN, TVA Sports).

Murray, pulled after giving up four goals on four consecutive shots in the second period against Team Russia on Monday, is out with a thumb injury sustained midway through that second period. 

Connor Hellebuyck will back up Gibson.

Asked if Murray's availability might be in doubt for the semifinal game, should Team North America advance, coach Todd McLellan said he was taking it "day by day."

"It's sore," Murray said Tuesday. "But it's nothing I'm too worried about."

Murray said the injury was not an issue against Team Russia.

"I've done it a bunch of times," he said. "It's something that happens a lot. It's a quick game out there. Sometimes there's little injuries, little aches and pains, but nothing major at all. … It was diving across the net, trying to make a save and I just landed on it funny. Just jammed it."

Murray isn't the only injury concern for Team North America. One day after it lost defenseman Aaron Ekblad for the rest of the tournament, defenseman Ryan Murray, who left the ice in the middle of practice Tuesday, will be a game-time decision.

Though McLellan called Tuesday a "maintenance day," Ryan Murray was not assured of being ready to go against Team Sweden.

"He'll take warmup," McLellan said.

The potential loss of Ryan Murray would perhaps be a bigger problem for Team North America, forcing it to play with five defensemen. An injury replacement cannot be named in the World Cup unless a team has fewer than 18 healthy skaters, regardless of position. So if Ryan Murray cannot play, Team North America would have to use five defenseman and 13 forwards.

What will it do in that situation?

"Play the game," McLellan said.

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