5:23 pm ET: One more key: scoring goals. The Swiss were content to lay back for more than 50 minutes, hoping that an American error would create a scoring chance for them. By the time they realized that wasn't going to happen, it was too late. They may have kept the result close, but this team belongs on a plane home tonight.
5:21 pm ET: The two keys to success in any short tournament: goaltending and the ability to improve with each game. Miller's taking care of the first element, but don't neglect to give the Americans full marks for the latter. A team that seemed intent on coughing the puck up at every opportunity in the first two games played a virtually mistake-free contest today.
5:19 pm ET: Big difference for me: the total commitment to sacrifice by the Americans. Perfect positioning, great sticks and a willingness to lay down the body at every opportunity.
5:17 pm ET: Miller gets the shutout on 18 stops, 10 in the third period. Nowhere near the performance he authored against Canada, but he made the saves he had to make.
5:16 pm ET: Small, brief chant of U-S-A erupts from the crowd. What an effort by Parise to create that clincher. And there's the game, final score 2-0 Team USA. They go to the semis to face the winner of Finland/Czech Republic.
5:16 pm ET: GAME OVER -- USA 2, SWITZERLAND 0
5:15 pm ET: GOAL USA -- ZACH PARISE. Empty netter with 11.2 seconds left. Parise with his second of the night.
5:14 pm ET: Swiss get the puck deep but can't get control of the puck.
5:14 pm ET: Drury ices the puck with 1:06 left. Draw again to the right of Miller.
5:13 pm ET: 1:43 left. Draw to the right of Miller. Hiller goes to the bench. Seems waaaay early ...
5:12 pm ET: Roman Wick gets the puck at the point and takes forever to get the shot off, allowing Jack Johnson time to get his stick in the way and send the puck into the crowd. The Swiss call time-out.
5:11 pm ET: Just over two minutes left. How much longer can the Swiss wait to open it up?
5:10 pm ET: Erik Johnson with another shot block. That's 25 on the afternoon for the Americans.
5:10 pm ET: Unbelievable ... Blindenbacher is back on the ice. What a gutsy effort from the Swiss vet.
5:09 pm ET: Swiss attack brings the crowd to its feet, but a pass across the middle bounces off an American defender and skitters harmlessly to the corner. Just over three minutes left.
5:07 pm ET: Five minutes to go now ... Joe Pavelski hasn't seen a ton of ice, but he just finished off a strong shift with a hard drive to the net, forcing Hiller to make another stop. Not much of a chance, but the draw is down in the Swiss zone. Tough to tie it up from there.
5:04 pm ET: Under six minutes to go. Hiller forced to hold onto a point shot after Martin Pluss broke his stick in the defensive zone.
5:03 pm ET: Looks like Ron Wilson talked to his charges during that stoppage. Two Americans in on the forecheck just now.
5:03 pm ET: He comes up with the glove stop.
5:02 pm ET: Seven minutes to go, still 1-0 Team USA. Americans look to be sliding into a defensive posture, allowing Sbisa a wide open point shot that challenges Miller.
5:01 pm ET: Blindenbacher on the bench, looks like a shoulder separation judging by the way the team doctor is working on him. Big loss for the Swiss blue line.
5:00 pm ET: Hiller with 40 saves so far. He's done his part. Time for his teammates to give him something to work with. At the other end, Miller just finished his taxes with Turbo Tax.
4:58 pm ET: Don't want to say the Swiss are opening it up, but there looks to be a little more gap between the offense and defense. They're looking for an opportunity, but they're still hedging their bets.
4:57 pm ET: Three e-mailers in the last three minutes report turning the game off. "Too tense. Can't bear to watch." Those guys are nuts ... they're missing out on what should be a frantic final 10 minutes.
4:54 pm ET: Hiller bobbles a puck behind his net and watches helplessly as it squirms in front of the empty net ... hangs there for an eternity before a Swiss defender swoops in for the clear. Still 1-0 Team USA with just over 12 minutes on the clock.
4:53 pm ET: Parise dances through the slot and rings one off the post to Hiller's left.
4:52 pm ET: Kesler is out of the box. The way the puck was bouncing late in that power play suggests the ice is starting to show signs of duress. Both teams needs to keep it simple from here on in.
4:51 pm ET: Gleason takes a nasty slapper off the ankle, but manages to clear the zone. Great shift by the depth defender.
4:50 pm ET: OT hero Romano Lemm finds space in the slot and rings a wrister off the mask of Miller.
4:49 pm ET: This may be the first time all day the Swiss have established possession in the American zone. Miller easily handles a point shot. Faceoff now to his right.
4:49 pm ET: So, score stands at 1-0 Team USA, no goal at either end, and Ryan Kesler in the box. The Swiss can't afford to waste this opportunity.
4:48 pm ET: They're reviewing the Swiss shot now. Sure looked like it caught the inside of the post on the far side, but the replay shows it just hit the post and rolled across the crease.
4:47 pm ET: Goal Team USA ... but this is waved off. Wow. Looks like Kesler is being called for interfering with a Swiss defender.
4:46 pm ET: Light is on, but ref waves off apparent Swiss goal ... I think that one's going to replay.
4:45 pm ET: Rare shift by Bobby Ryan. The big winger dances through the Swiss zone and gets off a decent chance on his Anaheim teammate. That's exactly the sort of effort Ron Wilson needs to see from Ryan.
4:44 pm ET: That play was created by another smart point shot by Brian Rafalski. Might be wrong, but I think that's the first shot on the power play for either team this afternoon.
4:43 pm ET: GOAL USA -- ZACH PARISE. U.S. picks up another puck that's bobbled by Hiller out front. It's 1-0 Team USA 2:08 into the third.
4:42 pm ET: Kessel missed a wide open side after he scoops up a rebound of a Malone shot. He's hauled down on the play. Team USA goes back on the power play.
4:40 pm ET: Team USA comes out flying, bodies storming the crease and pucks launched furiously from up high. You get the sense it's only a matter of time before they break through.
4:39 pm ET: Play underway in the third period. Seger is back on the ice for the Swiss.
4:39 pm ET: Phil Kessel leads Team USA with four shots--obviously not including that early goal post. He's definitely worked harder to earn himself space this afternoon. As the Swiss wear down, his speed may become the American X-Factor.
4:36 pm ET:Ryan Callahan with less than five minutes of ice for Team USA, but geez, that guy demands your attention when he's out there. Mostly limited to the PK to this point, but he's been a force whenever he's hopped the boards.
4:34 pm ET: Mark Streit -- 17:43 through two periods. What a horse that guy has been for the Swiss. Work load might be even heavier in the third if Mathias Seger is unable to go in the third. He was badly shaken up after being slammed into the boards late in the period.
4:31 pm ET:PERIOD OVER. Shots are 32-8 for Team USA, 14-4 in the second period. It seems like just a matter of time before they break through, but the longer they let this team hang around, the greater the peril. Every mistake now is magnified in significance.
4:29 pm ET: SI's Sarah Kwak confirms the volume of the roar after the no goal call. This crowd is ready to explode.
4:28 pm ET: Great break for the Swiss, who spent the last five minutes of the period scrambling in their own zone. Tough break for Team USA who deserve something for their effort. At least they go into the room knowing they can beat Hiller ... just need to get it done while there's some time on the clock.
4:26 pm ET: What a game changer this could be. Kesler throws it out front from deep in the corner, Hiller knocks at it with his stick. It bobbles up in the air, off his shoulder and into the net ... but with the clock reading 0.0 seconds left. Just waved off now ... the roar from the crowd shows who they're pulling for.
4:24 pm ET: Goal USA???? Shot from the corner eludes Hiller, but time might have expired.
4:23 pm ET: Last minute of play in the second period. Americans continue to press down low. Parise has been great along the boards this afternoon -- just keeps winning battles.
4:19 pm ET: Mark Streit hasn't left the ice for Switzerland. He has to have played at least 10 minutes so far thanks to all the penalty kill time.
4:18 pm ET: Three minutes left in the period and the Americans are swarming the Swiss zone. Lots of pressure down low by the Brown/Backes/Drury line but they don't have the hands to finish.
4:16 pm ET: Power play is over. That's three straight for Team USA and they didn't get a sniff on any of them. They're getting bodies out front. At some point, they have to just get the puck to the point and start blasting away.
4:15 pm ET: Bobby Ryan is absolutely demolished by a hip check from Saeger as he crosses the Swiss blue line.
4:14 pm ET: POWER PLAY TEAM USA. Domenichelli goes right back to the box. Didn't see the infraction but it's announced as a hook.
4:13 pm ET:Erik Johnson makes a sensational diving play to break up a three-on-one chance as Domenichelli comes out of the box. Just gets his stick out to block the cross ice pass.
4:11 pm ET: POWER PLAY Team USA. Hnat Domenichelli sits for two for tripping.
4:10 pm ET: Langenbrunner with a bid down low that Hiller turns aside with a sizzling glove save.
4:08 pm ET: At this point though, the Swiss look perfectly comfortable to wait for Team USA to commit a major blunder. Guess we'll find out if safe is death in the Olympics.
4:06 pm ET: The Swiss have been relentless in their commitment to their defensive responsibilities, but just six shots at the midway mark won't get it done. They have to find a way to get some pucks on Miller.
4:05 pm ET: Team USA gets nothing done with the extra man, bogged down by the Swiss in the neutral zone. Both sides at full strength.
4:03 pm ET: POWER PLAY Team USA. Parise draws the call by driving hard to the net where he's hauled down by Rafaele Sannitz. Six minutes gone, still 0-0.
• Kesler line starts the PP with Jack Johnson and Ryan Whitney on the points.
4:01 pm ET: That's two PP chances and not a single shot on net to show for them. If the Swiss hope to pull this one off, they need to take advantage of whatever chances they're handed ... and right now, Team USA isn't giving them much.
4:00 pm ET: Even up, no shots for the Swiss on the PP opportunity.
3:59 pm ET: Minute gone and the Swiss are getting nothing done. Just now crossed into the American zone for the first time.
• Outstanding job up front by Ryan Callahan and Chris Drury. Callahan has been fearless with the body.
3:57 pm ET: POWER PLAY Switzerland.
• Ryan Malone, two minutes for roughing.
3:57 pm ET: Kessel throws one on the net that Hiller has a hard time handling. Scramble out front, lots of hacking and whacking, but the Swiss eventually clear the puck. Score remains knotted at zero.
3:55 pm ET: Luca Sbisa back on the ice for the Swiss. Looks to be alright.
3:54 pm ET: I'm with Don Cherry ... big fan of the automatic whistle on icing infractions.
3:53 pm ET: Second period is underway. The Stastny line starts off.
3:50 pm ET: SI's Sarah Kwak just spotted speed skater Chad Hedrick in the nosebleeds. Geez, a bronze medalist can't swing a lower bowl seat?
3:40 pm ET: PERIOD OVER. Give the edge in play to the Americans. It wasn't as lopsided at the 18-4 shot totals suggest, but Team USA created the more dangerous offensive chances and did a better job of establishing their physical dimension. The Swiss had plenty of fight in their game, but you have to wonder when, not if, this punishment and the exertion from yesterday's shootout win over Belarus will start to sap their energy.
• 12 draws in the Swiss zone to just six in the American end. Team USA holds a 14-7 edge overall in the circle.
• Ryan Suter led all skaters with 8:11 of ice. Bobby Ryan had just 2:14.
3:37 pm ET: There's the stop of the period! Hiller just gets his blocker on a sizzling wrister from Zach Parise, who got his stick free for just a moment at the bottom of the slot. That's a huge confidence boost for the Swiss.
3:36 pm ET: A minute left in the period ... honestly can't remember the last Swiss shot. Had to be 10 minutes ago.
3:34 pm ET:Phil Kessel rings one off the post to the left of Hiller. His legs have had more jump already than any game since the opener.
3:33 pm ET: Swiss are doing an exemplary job keeping any marauding Americans tied up out front. There haven't been many rebounds, but when they've come, the U.S. is having a tough time getting to them.
29 pm ET: By my count, shots are 15-4 for Team USA with just under six minutes remaining.
3:27 pm ET: Another sluggish change for the Swiss. They've flirted with too many men at least three times already.
3:25 pm ET: Eight minutes left in the first, still scoreless. Momentum has swung back to Team USA thanks to a ferocious forecheck.
3:24 pm ET: Pavelski/Malone/Kessel line gets a rare shift, but they create some havoc in the offensive zone. Three shots, three tough saves for Hiller.
3:22 pm ET: Kane/Kesler/Brown line carrying over their strong play from the Canada game. Their forecheck is frustrating the Swiss down low and has led to four turnovers already.
3:20 pm ET: Zach Parise with a sensational chance alone in the slot while short-handed. Hiller with the big stop. U.S. back to full strength.
• SI's Sarah Kwak just spotted a sign: "Stop being neutral. Time to kick some a**!"
3:19 pm ET: Less than a minute left in the opportunity. The Swiss have yet to set up in the U.S. zone.
3:17 pm ET: POWER PLAY Switzerland. These guys are rolling at 50 percent for the tourney (4/8).
3:17 pm ET: Another odd-man chance for the Swiss. They haven't capitalized yet, but they shouldn't be getting this many opportunities. Team USA needs to do a better job of keeping that third man high.
3:15 pm ET:Brian Rafalski making another early impact, but this time in his own zone. He's laying the body, and closing off the passing lanes. Nice to see this underrated defender finally getting the attention he deserves.
• Swiss defender Luca Sbisa leaves for the dressing room to have an injury attended to.
3:13 pm ET: Langenbrunner takes a feed all alone in front of the net, but skates wide before he can take a shot.
3:11 pm ET: Swiss botch a two-on-one chance by trying to hold up for the trailer ... brutal decision. These guys need to get shots on net to test Miller. Team USA sets the early physical tone, but the Swiss are starting to respond. This isn't a small team. If they're willing to maintain this level of aggression, the Swiss can create an advantage.
3:09 pm ET: Point blast by Tim Gleason, rebound by Ryan Kesler. Tremendous net presence for the Americans, but Hiller up to the challenge.
3:06 pm ET: And we're underway. The U.S. starts the Stastny line. Quick start for the U.S., pressure down low ends with Zach Parise banging away at a rebound at the feet of Jonas Hiller. He makes a stop on a long bid by Brian Rafalski ... he's already up on Marty Brodeur ...
Pregame: Team USA general manager Brian Burke might have engaged in some strategic underselling of his squad heading into the Olympic Games, but he wasn't sandbagging when he criticized their performance in the aftermath of Sunday's surprising victory over Canada.
"We have to play significantly better," he repeated during several media opportunities. "We need all hands on deck. We're playing with about 10 guys carrying us, in my opinion."
Even 10 might be a generous estimate. That 5-3 win might have been the feel-good moment of these Olympics for the American public, but it wasn't the sort of performance that's indicative of a team in gold medal contention. In giving up 46 shots, his club clearly allowed the Canadians to dictate the flow of the game. Now that a single loss equals a plane ticket home, the Americans need more than another stellar effort from Ryan Miller to keep their dreams alive.
That said, there were aspects of that game worth building on. The quick start. The opportunistic goal scoring. The tenacious physical play. Sizable improvements in defensive decision-making and positioning. Those elements, along with a more persistent, creative offensive attack, will be the key to Team USA's hopes this afternoon.
As for the Swiss, they essentially reached their goal simply by making it to this quarterfinal. At this point, they're playing with house money, and that lack of pressure gives them an edge in the early part of the first. If they can get off to a fast start, their confidence and disciplined defensive game will make them extremely dangerous.
Ultimately, though, their chances for pulling the upset are dependent on the play of goaltender Jonas Hiller. The Anaheim Ducks' star has had his moments in the tournament, but his performance in the qualifying win over Belarus was less than inspirational. He'll have to be significantly better, but his NHL resume suggests he has it in him. If he can limit the Americans to two or fewer goals, the Swiss have a chance.