United States-Russia Preview
The United States Hockey Team is coming off of an impressive 7-1 blowout win over Slovakia in their opening game. Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny scored two of their seven goals on the fourth-line with Max Pacioretty (Canadiens) and T.J. Oshie (Blues). They will be taking on Team Russia who defeated Slovenia by the final of 5-2. Colorado Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov stopped 12-of-14 shots for the win.
What: Sochi Winter Olympics Men’s Hockey 2014: United States vs. Russia
When: Saturday, February 15th
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
Time: 7:30 AM ET, 5:30 AM MT
TV: NBC Sports Network
Six different United States members scored goals in the 7-1 rout over Slovakia. John Carlson of the Washington Capitals, Ryan Kesler of the Vancouver Canucks, Paul Stastny of the Colorado Avalanche, David Backes of the St. Louis Blues, Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Dustin Brown of the Los Angeles Kings.
Russia played well enough to earn a 5-2 win over Slovenia but looked shaky at times. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals got things going in the first minute of the game as Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins picked up the assist. Malkin just a few minutes later would pick up a goal of his own on the assist from Ovechkin as they took over control in the third on a goal from Dallas Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin.
Projected Starting Lines:
United States (1-0):
Line 1: Dustin Brown (Kings) – Ryan Kesler (Canucks) – Patrick Kane (Blackhawks)
Line 2: Phil Kessel (Maple Leafs) – Joe Pavelski (Sharks) – James van Riemsdyk (Maple Leafs)
Line 3: Zach Parise (Wild) – David Backes (Blues) – Ryan Callahan (Rangers)
Line 4: Max Pacioretty (Habs) – Paul Stastny (Avalanche) – T.J. Oshie (Blues)
Jonathan Quick (Kings) 1-0
Line 1: Alex Ovechkin (Capitals) – Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) – Alexander Semin (Hurricanes)
Line 2: Ilya Kovalchuk – Pavel Datsyuk (Red Wings) – Alexander Radulov
Line 3: Vladimir Tarasenko (Blues) – Artem Anisimov (Blue Jackets) – Nikolai Kulemin (Maple Leafs)
Line 4: Alexander Popov – Alexei Tereschenko – Valeri Nichushkin (Stars)
Sergei Bobrovsky (Blue Jackets) 0-0
Keys To The Game:
United States — Slow Down Russia’s Forwards
The United States defenseman have a tough task as they have to slow down players like Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and up-and-coming star Valeri Nichushkin. If they can slow down Russia’s attack, you have to like their chances. They will also have to keep their eyes on Evgeni Malkin and former NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.
Russia — Play To Their Own Tempo
Russia is on the National Spotlight in their own country as they need to stick to their own game-plan. They can’t try to be flashy or add extra pressure to themselves or USA’s talented forwards can make up for their mistakes.