TEAM USA UNDRESSES SLOVAKIA AT SOCHI
TOUCHDOWN TEAM USA! What an opening salvo from the U.S. Olympic team against Slovakia. The onslaught began in the second period after Tomas Tatar knotted the game at one. Video replay showed that the Slovaks were offside by a country mile and the goal should have never counted. It wound up being the only competitive moment in the game that became a blowout.
START THE ONSLAUGHT
Six goals starting 1:02 after the Slovakians tally would send a message to every country represented at Sochi. NHLers Zdeno Chara, Marian Hossa and Jaroslav Halak had no answer for the high flying Red, White and Blue. John Carlson got the show started in the first period off a feed from Phil Kessel. The remainder of the first period was a feeling out process as the United States was getting acclimated to the Olympic Size ice.
That second period however was one of the finest offensive performances I have seen in ages. The puck was literally on a string for the U.S. and Paul Stastny notched two of the seven. Eleven of the eighteen skaters notched points led by Phil Kessel with a goal and two assists. Patrick Kane added two sweet helpers and Team USA looks like a strong medal candidate.
OLYMPIC RANGERS WATCH
Ryan McDonagh was very noticeable and finished strong with a +1 and a shot on goal. It was his rush and dump in that setup the go ahead goal in the second period. Ryan Callahan played a quieter role and finished with an even rating and a shot on goal. It will be interesting to see if Derek Stepan gets into the lineup at all. My best guess is he will play at least once if the U.S. can lock up the top spot in round robin play. We will have another post after the Canada and Norway game that pits Rick Nash versus Mats Zuccarello the game starts at 12PM EST.
RUSSIA UP NEXT
Team USA’s next game will be Saturday (2/15) at 7:30AM versus host team Russia. This should be a great contest as Ovechkin and Malkin dazzled versus Slovenia in a 5-2 win today as well. Other results from Sochi saw Team Finland surviving a Michael Grabner hat-trick to beat Austria 8-4. Finland was led by Jarkko Immonen with 2 goals. Who’s that you say? The Rangers traded Brian Leetch for him. Better late than never to show up. If you are wondering, he’s 30 years old and played only 20 games in the NHL, all for the NYR. He finished with 3 goals and 5 assists.