The Pens Olympic players and staff finally went head-to-head as Team USA head coach Dan Bylsma, assistant coach Tony Granato and defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik took on Evgeni Malkin and Team Russia on Russian soil. And this opening salvo goes to the United States, who scored a 3-2 shootout win.
USA 3, RUSSIA 2 (SO)
The heroes of the game were forward TJ Oshie and goaltender Jonathan Quick.
Oshie converted four scores in the shootout to keep the USA alive, and finally to give them the victory. In Olympic shootouts after the opening round of three shooters is complete teams can send out anyone they want, including players that have already shot. Oshie scored on his very first shootout attempt in the round of three. After that, he was the only American to shoot. And he converted three more times, including the game-deciding shot through the five-hole of Sergei Bobrovsky.
After scoring the winner, Oshie pointed down the length of the ice to give credit to his netminder. Quick had to be brilliant in the shootout against the Russians. They brought skill and sick moves. He held his own long enough for Oshie to finally put it away. Quick was also solid during the game's opening 65 minutes with 29 saves.
The United States benefited from a pair of penalties taken by Alexander Radulov. The Americans scored two power-play goals (Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski), their only goals during regulation/OT. The US also benefited from a call late in the third period. Russia appeared to have taken a 3-2 lead late in the third period on Fedor Tyutin's shot from the point. However, the net had been dislodged prior to the goal. In international rules, any goal scored with the net off is disallowed. America dodged that bullet and then won the game.
Russia had a big game from their captain, Pavel Datsyuk. He scored both goals for his country.
USA celebrates after Fowler ties the game at 1-1 on the power play.
Brooks Orpik defends Alexander Semin.
Evgeni Malkin makes a move to get around an American.
Orpik gets low to block a shot. But Quick's got him covered with the pad.
Joe Pavelski with the high-fives after scoring a power-play goal to give USA a 2-1 lead.
Malkin tries to skate through David Backes. Not very successfully either.
Paul Martin carrying the puck.
Malkin tries to sneak a shot in through the back of the net.
Martin plays the puck off the end boards while Malkin and Kovalchuk pursue.
Malkin skates away from American captain Zach Parise.
Asst coach Peter Laviolette and head coach Dan Bylsma pick their shootout players.
Teams wait for the ice to be cleaned for the shootout.
That's all for today's blog coverage. USA gets a big win in the preliminary round. A lot of Pens in action tomorrow. Russia will try to rebound against Slovakia. The United States will battle Slovenia. Both of those games are at 7:30 a.m. EST. Then at noon Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Canada take on Jussi Jokinen, lead scoring defenseman Olli Maatta and Finland. See you then!
All that glitters is gold.