First, the good news from the Olympics. Team USA beat Russia 3-2 yesterday in a absolutely thrilling eight-round shootout on the strength of the mighty stick of St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie, who went 4 for 6 in the skills competition. Now for the bad news... Florida rookie Aleksander Barkov is out for the rest of the tournament with a knee injury suffered in Finland's 6-1 win over Norway on Friday. The other Panther participating in the Games, Tomas Kopecky, got elbowed in the head in the first period of Slovakia's 3-1 upset loss to Slovenia Saturday morning. Kopecky did not return after going to the dressing room. Here's hoping the gritty veteran recovers so he can continue representing his country and the Cats in Sochi. He is questionable for today's tilt with Russia, but Slovakia will get at least one more game in Tuesday's playoff round.
Today sees the end of the three-game preliminary round. Sweden has won their group and will head straight to the quaterfinals. Canada and Finland will meet today for Group B supremacy, while a USA win over Slovenia will give them the top spot in Group A. The top second place team will join the three group winners in the quarterfinals and avoid the playoff round.
- Group A
USA vs. Slovenia 7:30 EST Shayba Arena (NBCSN)
Russia vs. Slovakia 7:30 a.m. Bolshoy Ice Dome (USA)
- Group B
Norway vs. Austria 3:00 a.m. Bolshoy Ice Dome (USA)
Finland vs. Canada 12:00 p.m. Bolshoy Ice Dome (USA)
* Games can also be seen on nbcolympics.com (you will need to verify your cable/satellite account)
- Group A
- Group C
Sweden 5 Latvia 3
With its 5-3 win over Latvia, Sweden wrapped up Group C with a perfect 3-0 record. The Swedes got power-play goals from Patrik Berglund, Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson, and Jimmie Ericsson, while Alexander Edler closed out the scoring with an even-strength marker. Lauris Darzins, Janis Sprukts, and Zemgus Grigensons tallied for Latvia, who put on a very respectable preliminary round showing, despite losing all three games.
Switzerland 1 Czech Republic 0
Simon Bodenmann's first period goal held up as the stingy Swiss knocked off the Czechs by a 1-0 margin. Jonas Hiller made 26 saves for his second win, and shutout, of the tournament. Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec stopped 25 shots in his second straight start for the Czech Republic.