The men's Olympic ice hockey teams got underway Wednesday for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. But all the Pens Olympians had to wait until Thursday for their first taste of action. All in all, a good day for the OlymPens. All four teams won their games and the Pens had plenty of contribution. In today's blog we have game recaps, notes and pictures.
FINLAND 8, AUSTRIA 4
Finland opened the Olympic tournament with an impressive 8-4 victory against Austria with the help of a couple of Pens. Austria had a 2-1 lead halfway through the first period. Pittsburgh's Jussi Jokinen helped set up Sami Lepisto for a tally to notch the score at 2-2. Nineteen-year-old defenseman Olli Maatta scored the next goal to give Finland a 3-2 lead, a lead they would never lose. After Finland took a 4-2 lead, Jokinen, who had six shots in the game, scored his first goal of the Olympics to make it a 5-2 score. Jokinen's goal (and second point) would hold up to be the eventual game-winner. On the other side, Michael Grabner scored three of Austria's four goals in the contest.
USA 7, SLOVAKIA 1
Head coach Dan Bylsma has the US running at full speed. America, land of the free and home of the brave, scored six goals in the second period and rolled to an easy 7-1 triumph over Slovakia. The United States had a 1-0 lead after the first period. But when Tomas Tatar tied the game 24 seconds into the second period on a play that was very clearly offsides, America became angry and responded with a six-goal second period.
Phil Kessel led the Americans with three points (1G-2A). Paul Stastny scored two goals and a handful of other players registered a few points: Ryan Kesler (G-A); van Riemsdyk (2A); John Carlson (G-A); T.J. Oshie (2A); Patrick Kane (2A). Jonathan Quick was forced to make a few dazzling saves and was solid in net with 22 saves.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik finished with a plus-3 rating. Paul Martin was even with one shot on goal.
RUSSIA 5, SLOVENIA 2
While the Americans were cruising past Slovakia, Russia was taking on Slovenia. Things started well for Evgeni Malkin and company. Russia scored two goals in the opening 3:54 minutes after puck drop. The first was a tally by Alex Ovechkin - set up by Malkin. Then Malkin danced through a defenseman to score his own goal to give Russia the 2-0 lead after the first period.
In the second period Malkin picked up his third point of the game when he helped set up an Ilya Kovalchuk power-play goal as Russia took a 3-1 lead. Although Slovenia would pull within one, 3-2, with a late second-period goal, Russia notched a pair in the third to win 5-2.
Malkin was Russia's leading scorer with three points (1G-2A).
CANADA 3, NORWAY 1
A much closer game than many would have anticipated. After a scoreless first period, Shea Weber broke the zeroes with a nasty slap shot from the blue line. Jamie Benn scored a goal from the slot to make it a 2-0 game, which is where the score stood after 40 minutes. Norway got on the board 22 seconds into the third period on Patrick Thoresen's tip. Drew Doughty ended the scoring with a marvelous goal. He weaved through traffic in the slot, got tight on goal and lifted a sick backhander into the top shelf to make it 3-1. That's where the game ended.
Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were held off the scoresheet, though they did get some chances - as well as their linemate Jeff Carter. Crosby was a plus-1 with two shots. Kunitz had 2 shots and 2 penalty minutes.
Here is a photo roundup from the action today.
Olli squared. Olli Jokinen hugs Olli Maatta after a Finland goal. If you combine Olli Maatta and Jussi Jokinen do you get Olli Jokinen?
Maatta with the box out behind the net.
Evgeni Malkin was on fire today with a goal and two assists.
Celebration after a Russian goal.
This is what an Evgeni Malkin goal looks like if you lived your life as a hockey net.
Paul Martin gets proper body position then pushes the puck ahead.
Martin and Joe Pavelski
Brooks Orpik, who was a plus-3 today, does the glove bumps after an American goal.
Martin unleashes a shot on goal.
One final shot of Martin for good measure.
Game over. Shake hands.
The name is Quick. Jonathan Quick.
Canada vs. Norway faceoff. Kunitz-Crosby-Carter line to start.
Weber and Crosby fist bump after Weber's opening tally...
and then are joined by teammates.
Carter and Crosby crashing the crease.
Jamie Benn getting some air.
Happy Canadian bench.
Last one of Crosby carrying the puck in the neutral zone.
That'll do it for today's Olympic coverage. Not easy covering four games in one day (with a 3 a.m. start). I'll be back at it tomorrow with recaps, stats, notes and pics from Canada-Austria and Finland-Norway. Both games are at noon EST. See you all then.
All that glitters is gold.
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