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Balanced U.S. attack overwhelms Slovakia in blowout win

Feb 13, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT

Team USA celebrates Phil Kessel's (81) goal against Slovakia goaltender Jaroslav Halak during the 2014 Winter Olympics men's ice hockey game at Shayba Arena, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) AP

Going into the 2014 Winter Games, Team USA had never beaten Slovakia in an Olympic contest.

Well, the Americans certainly remedied that today with a 7-1 blowout victory over Slovakia that highlighted a balanced attack. Phil Kessel led all U.S. scorers with three points, while six skaters — John Carlson, Ryan Kesler, James van Riemsdyk, Paul Stastny, T.J. Oshie and Patrick Kane — finished with two points each.

It’s almost hard to believe that for a little more than a third of this game, it looked like this one could go either way. Slovakia got off to a decent start and when Team USA started to pick up steam as the first period progressed, Slovak goaltender Jaroslav Halak kept the Americans at bay.

Other than a rocket of a shot by defenseman John Carlson that beat Halak top shelf, the Slovak netminder was perfect through 20 minutes. Early in the second frame, Slovakia took advantage of a non-call on an offside and Tomas Tatar evened the score at one.

That seemed to spark the Americans, who elevated their game from great to overwhelming.

Over the span of 12:04 minutes in the second frame, the  U.S. netted four unanswered goals to chase Halak out of the game. However, the mismatch didn’t stem from Slovakia’s goaltender, as evidenced by the fact that Peter Budaj conceded goals to Phil Kessel and Dustin Brown on his first two shots.

The third period was quiet by comparison, but the damage was done. As was the case in their last Olympic blowout victory in the 2010 Semifinals against Finland, the United States won thanks to their balanced attack. Six different players found the back of the net for America today.

They’ll try to carry the momentum from this game into Saturday’s contest against Russia.


Budaj: Slovakia couldn’t keep up with ‘flying’ Americans

  1. killerpgh - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:41 AM

    Hell of a 1st game by USA. Bring on the commie bastards next.

    • cofran2004 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      WOLVERI– er…

      USA! USA! USA!

    • profsudz - Feb 14, 2014 at 12:59 AM

      Sadly the Russians have a more free market system than the Americans at this point in time, but you wouldn’t learn that by listening to your free media such as NBC

  2. areaman714 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    Pretty darn good chemistry on both ends by guys that essentially said hello 3 days ago.

  3. sjsblitz - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:47 AM

    USA! USA! USA!

  4. jkay1818 - Feb 13, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    great win, wait till they really click. im more worried about the officiating on Saturday vs Russia.

    Said it on another post, but seems like they ran mainly with two d pairings with mcdonagh and shattenkirk getting most of the workload. Those two look incredible together. wow.

    As the games go on, they will roll out more depth. this is a solid team top to bottom.

    • cofran2004 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:06 AM

      I’m afraid of the officiating too. This could be ugly.

      To be fair, they didn’t really need the PP to score today. And russia’s defense is pourous at best. If they play defense like they did today, then I’m not all that worried.

      However… i am afraid of the phantom call. I won’t do my impression of a russian “olympic official” talking to a referee again, but suffice it to say… I doubt russia’s ability to keep this tournament fairly.

  5. jr507 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    agree with jkay. Shattenkirk stood out. Obviously some defensive lapses by Slovakia, but D-men who can jump will differentiate the men from the boys when we play the varsity teams.

  6. penguins87and71 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Wow the U.S looks really good. It should be a great game Saturday against Russia, I can’t wait for that game.

  7. laxman1944 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    The ghost of 1980 still haunts the Red Menace………USA…….USA…..USA

  8. 13datsyuk13 - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:27 AM


  9. snipedanglecelly13 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:11 AM

    As a redwing fan, i was pretty pumped to see tatar score. He is a stud!

  10. laxman1944 - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:18 AM

    “This is Your time………..Their time is over……Now go take it”

  11. bruinspaw - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Apparantley my worries on how they would transition to the ice was unwarranted! Bloody good game!

  12. blomfeld - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    Person A: excuse me friend, did you catch who was playing in goal for the US ?

    Person B: oh yes, it was none other than the ‘best’ of the best, Jonathan Quick ! :)

    • bsaures - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:02 PM

      Person B must be a moron

      • blomfeld - Feb 13, 2014 at 10:53 PM

        Person A: did you ever hear what happened to that Bsaures creature at PHT ?

        Person B: oh yes, he was ‘liquidated’ by one of Blomfeld’s special action units …

      • bsaures - Feb 13, 2014 at 11:49 PM

        How can you have special action units when you still live in your parents basement after 30 years?

        Blomfeld’s dad: This sucks not only is my son a penniless, incompetent, lazy, annoying, loser but I have been waiting 10 YEARS TO GET MY GAMES ROOM.

        Blomfeld’s mom: Its not his fault remember the doctor said he has “medical condition”.

        Blomfeld’s dad: Being a dbag is a medical condition?

  13. channelguy - Feb 13, 2014 at 12:16 PM

    I wouldn’t be too concerned about the officiating. For a U.S.-Russia game, it’s likely a Canadian ref will work the game.

    I will be surprised if the Americans DONT win against the Russians. The American weakness is their defense, but it’s still better than the Russian defense. And the Americans can roll out four good forward lines. The Russians have two great forward lines,. and then the quality drops WAY off, One reason the Russians did so poorly in 2010 is they insisted on bringing over guys from the KHL for political reasons, and they couldn’t cut the mustard. They have done the same thing this time.

    • cofran2004 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      I dont think the american defense is a weakness at all. They probably have the best defensive core in the tournament. They’re a solid, solid all around team.

      That said, I won’t predict the outcome of saturday’s game. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING will shock me. As a matter of fact, I’d be less shocked by Vladimir Putin riding a horse shirtless onto the ice than I would be if the officiating is clean.

      • bsaures - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:26 PM

        They have a good d core but not as good as canada’s

      • cofran2004 - Feb 13, 2014 at 1:39 PM

        It’s hard to argue with you about that. Canada is looking pretty stacked. That said, I sure hope you’re wrong.

  14. tdrusher225 - Feb 13, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    The decision to leave Bobby Ryan off the team is pretty clear now. Poile has really built a true TEAM, rather than the best collection of talent. Go USA baby!

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