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Russia beats Norway, but power play still a concern

Feb 18, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT

Radulov AP

Russia got the job done on Tuesday, but it was far from perfect.

The Russians beat Norway 4-0 at the Bolshoy Ice Dome to secure their spot in the quarterfinals, but the final score was somewhat cosmetic — Russia led 2-0 with 67 seconds remaining before netting a pair of goals, one into an empty net.

For a large portion of the game, the main storyline was Russia’s inability to finish.

Prior to Alexander Radulov’s opening tally at the 4:12 mark of the second period, Russia had gone over 100 minutes without scoring a goal —  a stretch that saw the Russians go 0-for-6 on the power play (five missed opportunities against Slovakia, one against Norway.) All told, they’re now 2-for-16 with the man advantage this tournament, an issue that continues to get larger and larger with each passing game.

“I don’t know what to say,” defenseman Andrei Markov said. “We try do different combination. We try do different plays. But the puck doesn’t go there. Hopefully it’s going to start working tomorrow. We still have to be better. We’re probably going to adjust something. Have to be better tomorrow.”

Thankfully for Russia, the Radulov-Pavel Datsyuk-Ilya Kovalchuk line picked up the slack.

The trio, which has carried Russians throughout the tourney, combined for seven points against Norway. Radulov notched the game-winner and aforementioned empty-netter while Datsyuk assisted on the first three tallies of the game — which went Radulov, Kovalchuk, Radulov — before Alexei Tereshenko scored Russia’s fourth goal with 40 seconds remaining.

Even with that stellar performance in the books, Datsyuk lamented his team’s lack of PP success after the game.

For Norway, the loss caps off what — outside of a gritty 3-1 loss to Canada in the opener — was mostly a disappointing Olympics. The team lost all four of its games, scored just two goals and lost the services of its lone NHLer, Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello, to an arm injury prior to the Russia game. The loss also means Norway will finish 12th at the Olympics, two spots lower than it did four years ago in Vancouver.

The Russians will now take on Finland in the quarterfinals in what promises to be a quality tilt.

“They have a good team,” Markov said of the Finns. “They’re skating well. They play a good defensive game. It’s not going to be easy. It’s the Olympics. Every game is a big challenge.”

  1. patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 10:13 AM

    I’m a little more concerned about the lack of calls by officials – not only in this game, but, in others, too.

    Ovi’s breakaway in the 3rd period – he was taken down and clearly deserved a penalty shot. No penalty shot, no whistle, no harm, no foul, let them play.

    I’m not a fan of Russia’s team (go USA), and this isn’t in defense of them. I just think the officiating needs to tighten up. It’s pretty shameful.

    • 7mantel - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      it was a penalty for sure but he also embellished the trip and could have been called for a dive ,if thats in Olypic rules ! Maybe the dive was the ref deciding factor in the non call ?

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:32 AM

        Ref deciding factor? The only things the refs have decided is not to blow the whistle.

        I thought Ovi had his foot taken out from under him causing him to fall. I don’t think he embellished; but, there was no call anyway. It’s a moot point.

        But, that’s just not the issue. The lack of whistles in all the games I’ve seen IS the issue. Somebody is going to get hurt.

    • skr213 - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:49 PM

      The officiating in the women’s games has been even worse. Hasn’t decided any games that I’ve seen so far, but it’s worse than most pee-wee officiating!

  2. thailer35 - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Radulov is actually yawning in that picture. He was tired from a long night of partying.

    Circa Phoenix 2012.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 18, 2014 at 11:36 AM

      That’s funny, thailer.

      I think the photo is of him reacting to one of his two goals in this game. Plus he had an assist. Maybe he’s tired from that.

      All the coach had to do was threaten to bench him, and, to borrow from classic rock, Radulov comes alive!

      P.S. That Radulov-Datsyuk-Kovalchuk line is pretty freakin’ impressive. And dangerous.

  3. jdmix - Feb 18, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    Hope Rad does well so Nashville can trade his rights away to a team

  4. LampyB - Feb 18, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    Radulov is a lazy one man show. He will never return to the nhl because he isnt good enough, so what why do you care which team owns his rights in the first place? Lol

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