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Russia goes back to Varlamov for Slovakia game

Feb 16, 2014, 3:21 AM EDT

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Sochi Olympics Ice Hockey Men AP

The day after Sergei Bobrovsky lost a legendary shootout to T.J. Oshie and the United States, Russia will turn to Semyon Varlamov in goal versus Slovakia.

It’s not clear why coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov made the decision. Varlamov started Russia’s first game of the preliminary round, stopping 12 of the 14 shots he faced in a 5-2 victory Thursday versus Slovenia.

But the fact Bobrovksy got the nod in the biggest game of the preliminary round — and played well despite the shootout loss — suggests he’ll be the man once the win-or-else games begin. Varlamov is more than capable of beating Slovenia, allowing Bobrovsky to rest up from last night’s lengthy, emotional contest.

Of course, the most interesting Russian line-up decision has yet to be announced. Will Bilyaletdinov follow through on his word and scratch Alexander Radulov? We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

Related: Five thoughts from U.S.-Russia…which was a good game

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