SUNDAY’S OLYMPIC BUZZ
Team USA rolled to a 5-1 win over Slovenia, clinching first place in Group A and earning eight out of a possible nine points in the preliminary round. The Americans have earned a bye.
Phil Kessel led the way with a hat trick, producing the first hat trick by a U.S. player since John LeClair in the 2002 Olympics. Kessel leads the tournament with 7 points and is one of the hottest players in all of hockey right now. Including NHL and Olympic play, Kessel has 15 goals and 34 points in his last 18 games.
Ryan McDonagh and David Backes also scored in the win for Team USA. Joe Pavelski added 3 assists.
Ryan Miller got his first start of the tournament, making 17 saves in the win.
Brooks Orpik had an assist and was a +1. Orpik played 17:04. Paul Martin was a +1 in 16:51 of ice time.
RUSSIA BEATS SLOVAKIA 1-0 IN SHOOTOUT
The Russian’s went to a shootout for the second straight game and beat Slovakia, 1-0. Slovakia which has a goal differential of 2 goals for to 11 goals against, lost for the third straight game but played the Russian’s tough. Jaroslav Halak was benched and Slovakia started Jan Laco who made 36 saves on 37 shots.
Evgeni Malkin played over 24 minutes but was pointless for the second straight game.
KUNITZ BOOTED FROM CROSBY’S LINE
It’s 2-0 Canada vs 2-0 Finland with first place in Group B on the line. A focus for the coaching staff is to get Sidney Crosby’s line going and the Penguins star center will have two new linemates today.
Chris Kunitz has been booted off Crosby’s line and Canada will have a top line of Jamie Benn – Sidney Crosby – Patrice Bergeron.
Benn could be a great fit with Crosby.
Kunitz struggles through two games and him now being demoted to the 4th line will have a lot of people questioning Canada’s decision to pick him.
Team Canada officials, though, have felt that if Kunitz wasn’t producing with Crosby, he could still be an effective player in a bottom-6 role for them, another reason he made the team. One thought was Kunitz fitting in with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were this to happen, but he’s expected to play on the 4th line with Kunitz, Patrick Sharp and Rick Nash rotating on John Tavares wings.
Meanwhile, Carey Price has been given the keys to run with Canada’s No. 1 job as Babcock won’t go with Roberto Luongo vs Finland.