USA started it’s Olympic tournament against a very solid Slovakian team, or at least we thought. I wouldn’t be complaining either, while these three games don’t eliminate, playing against good teams early makes you get everything together. Jonathan Quick got the not in the US net, while Jaroslav Halak (I hate this guy) got the start in the Slovakian net. John Carlson is the only Capital player in this game so I’ll make sure to praise him early, and often.
Slovakia chose to play a very passive forecheck, opting to play a 1-3-1 in the neutral zone, trying not to let the US walk through neutral.
The strategy work well early until the US found a way to beat it by simply moving their feet and passing. That lead to the first goal by the States on John Carlson first shot, on his first Olympic games. Phil Kessel made a good drop pass to Carlson as they entered the zone, Carlson wound up and bagged a slapshot home past Halak’s blocker.
Slovakia got the equalizer on a goal that should have never happened. Hossa played the puck when another Slovak was offsides, but the lineman missed it. Tomas Tatar took advantage of the linesman’s error and nots it up at 1-1.
Then the game just got straight up ugly for Slovakia. The USA took commanding control, and Ryan Kesler got his first goal of the tournament to give USA a lead that it would not give up. A one timer from the slot that beat Halak high glove again.
Paul Statsny added the third US goal off of a rebound of a Max Pacioretty shot. Statsny was left alone in front for a simple tap in
David Backes added another goal to make it 4-1. A grind it out type of goal after the puck was loose in the crease. Backes batted it out of mid air by Halak’s glove.
The States then went on to score the goals in three straight shots. Paul Statsny then ended Halak’s night on a goal that he slipped between a sprawling Halak’s legs, 5-1. Phil Kessel made it 6-1 on a tip in of a James Van Riemsdyk shot. Dustin Brown then topped it off with a one tip shot off a Carlson pass, making it 7-1 USA at the end of 2.
USA took it’s proverbial foot off the pedal in the third period, keeping the game at 7-1 until the final whistle. USA plays its next game against Russia on Saturday.