Washington Capitals: John Carlson’s clutch Team USA goal in World Juniors

John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
John Carlson, Washington Capitals (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images) /

We have graded John Carlson and we aren’t done yet on this 4th of July. Last year we looked at T.J. Oshie’s shootout performance in the Olympics. This year we will look back at John Carlson‘s game winning goal for Team USA at the World Juniors earlier in the last decade.

Carlson was just a kid back then, a 2008 first round pick. At age 19 he just wanted to prove that he belonged on an NHL roster. Soon he would get that chance. First he had to go through Hershey. In 2009-10 he started to suit up for the Hershey Bears and appeared in three NHL games.

The Caps decided he could gain some valuable experience as a member of Team USA. The Americans made it through the preliminary round, winning three games while dropping the fourth in a shootout to Team Canada.

USA secured wins over Finland and Sweden to put them in the Gold Medal game against Team Canada on Jan. 5, 2010. The contest included 11 total goals, four different goalies seeing ice time, a late comeback and a theatrical finish from Carlson.

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USA held a 5-3 lead late in the third period until Jordan Eberle scored twice in the final three minutes of regulation to send the game into overtime. A pro Canada crowd went nuts. The crowd then went quiet just 4:21 into overtime thanks to Carlson’s heroics.

“At the last second I decided to shoot it,” Carlson said in an oral history article about the game from Chris Peters of ESPN.

More on the goal:

"“I’m more used to joining the attack versus leading it. In that situation, it was almost like I was waiting too long to make a play, and that’s kind of the reason it worked out so great. Obviously it was a good feeling after that.”"

Carlson also talked about what happened after the goal:

"“There was a lot going on, but I do remember getting hammered — I didn’t know it was Zucker — but I do remember that someone really hammered me against the glass right by the penalty boxes.”"

light. More. Washington Capitals Grades: John Carlson 2021 Report Card

Later that year Carlson would get more NHL action before getting a full time role the next season. He hasn’t looked back since.