Feb 13, 2014, 11:13 AM EST
After scoring twice in the opening four minutes against Slovenia on Thursday, Russia looked like it was primed for a blowout win.
Just one problem — the Russians took their collective foot off the gas.
“We started really well, but after when we got the lead 2-0, we played more casual,” Ovechkin said, per the Olympic News Service. “We can’t play like that in the future.”
Kovalchuk, who netted the eventual game-winner on a late second-period power play, said Russia was guilty of whipping the puck around too much and a hesitancy to fire away.
“In the second period we got too relaxed, but we gathered ourselves back in the third period,” he said. “We started to pass more in the second period, that is why we were told to shoot more during the break.”
The Russians out-shot Slovenia 18-4 in the first period, but just 17-10 over the final two frames. Slovenia gradually worked its way back into the game and trailed by just one goal heading into the third period, before Valeri Nichushkin and Anton Belov scored to put the contest out of reach.
It does have to be said, though, that Russia displayed tremendous energy and tenacity to start the game, led by the Ovechkin-Evgeni Malkin-Alex Semin line. The trio was responsible for both of the opening goals — Malkin set up Ovechkin for the first, Ovechkin set up Malkin for the second — and clearly fed off the electric atmosphere at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.
“Crazy crowd, unbelievable atmosphere out there,” Ovechkin said. “It’s great. It’s unbelievable.”
- NHL on NBCSN: Sharks’ ‘dog fight’ continues vs. red hot Ducks 0
- NHL on NBCSN: Rangers, Canadiens seek edge as divisional battles intensify 0
- Struggling Kings complete the comeback against Blackhawks 8
- Video: Tempers boil over between Capitals, Penguins 40
- Isles’ Clutterbuck latest to be fined for diving 19
- No hearing scheduled for Kesler after ‘dirty play’ on Dorsett 23
- Why NHL fans — no matter where they live — should care about the plunging Canadian dollar 32
- Trade: Pens acquire Lapierre from Blues for Goc 63
- Video: Habs’ Emelin ejected for hit on Stars’ Spezza 31
- Martin Brodeur to retire, become Blues asst. GM (Updated) 45