Men's Olympic Hockey: Preliminaries over, it's do or die time

Phil Kessel notched a natural hat trick against Slovenia. - Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Team USA wrapped up Group A with an easy win over Slovenia, while Tomas Kopecky sat out of Slovakia's shootout loss to Russia

Today is an off day for men's hockey at the Sochi Games. The action picks back up tomorrow with four qualification playoff round games between the teams who finished the preliminary round seeded 5 -12. The United States, Sweden, Canada (Group winners) and Finland (top second place team) have advanced to the quarterfinals, which will be played on Wednesday.

After taking an elbow to the head against Slovenia on Saturday, Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky missed Slovakia's final group round game with Russia. Hopefully, we'll see him back in action on Tuesday, but rumors are, like Aleksander Barkov, he's done for the tournament.

Yesterday's results

  • Group A

United States 5 Slovenia 1

Phil Kessel scored a natural hat trick to lead the US to a 5-1 win over Slovenia that cinched the top spot in Group A. Ryan McDonagh and David Backes also scored for the Americans. Ryan Miller got the start and stopped 17 shots. Marcel Rodman scored with 18 seconds remaining to end Miller's shutout bid.

Russia 1 Slovakia 0 (shootout)

Former NHLers Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk scored in the shootout to lead the host team to a surprisingly tough 1-0 win over Slovakia. Colorado's Semyon Varlamov stopped all 27 shots he faced and went 2 for 2 in the skills competition. Third string Slovak goaltender Jan Laco made 36 saves in an impressive performance.

  • Group B

Canada 2 Finland 1 (overtime)

Drew Doughty scored with 2:28 left in overtime to give Canada the win and first place in Group B over Finland. Both teams earned a spot in the quarterfinals. Doughty also opened the scoring in the first period before Tuomo Ruutu equalized for the Finns in the second. Carey Price stopped 14 of 15 shots, while Tuukka Rask made 26 saves.

Austria 3 Norway 1

Michael Grabner (remember him Dale Tallon & Mike Santos?) scored his fourth and fifth goals of the tournament, and set up another by Michael Raffl, to power Austria by Norway. Mathias Lange turned aside 34 shots to backstop the Austrians their first win of the tournament. Per-Age Skroder scored the only goal for Norway.

  • Qualification Playoff Round (Tuesday 2/18)

Norway (D12) vs. Russia (D5)

Latvia (D11) vs. Switzerland (D6)

Slovakia (D10) vs. Czech Republic (D7)

Austria (D9) vs. Slovenia (D8)

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