Final Score: USA 3, Russia 2 (Shootout)
First Period Recap: Dan Bylsma stuck with Jonathan Quick in net after the 7-1 win over Slovakia, while the Russians inserted Sergei Bobrovsky for Semyon Varlamov.
The pace for the first five minutes was pretty high and very even with shots for both teams, but nothing really dangerous and no second chances. Things got a little spicy when Ryan Callahan hit Alex Ovechkin head first into the boards and caused a ruckus after the play
The main issue I have with the Russian forward corps is that while explosive offensively, they're not as well rounded as the US and have a less proven defense behind them. This does not apply to Evgeni Malkin or Pavel Datsyuk. Malkin made a good play to strip Patrick Kane of the puck but immediately turned the puck over in the middle of the ice, but recovered to negate any scoring chance, more on him and Datsyuk later.
The first penalty of the game was levied against Blake Wheeler for tripping Ilya Kovalchuk in the neutral zone. The ridiculous first power play unit of Ovechkin, Kovalchuck, Malkin, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Markov was dangerous to start and had a good chance on a Malkin shot with Radulov screening that Quick saved and Ryan Suter cleared the rebound. The US penalty kill was able to burn some time by ragging the puck back but just after the penalty was killed Radulov had another Grade A chance by taking the puck right into the crease.
The Americans calmed the pace down after that chance, but still had trouble maintaining possession in the Russian zone.
Apparently the IIHF goalie interference/crease violation rules don't apply to Malkin who was all over Quick a couple of times, but in fairness Malkin was pretty much everywhere doing everything for the whole first period, so he was bound to find his way to the crease a couple of times.
At one point near the end of the period the US was caught with only four men on the ice, without having taken a penalty. Possibly a testament to the Russian crowd which had been active all game.
With 37 seconds left in the period Ilya Nikulin was called for holding Max Pacioretty. During the abbreviated power play before the end of the period the US had a couple of shots and a scramble at the side of the net that were all initiated by Patrick Kane. The first ended scoreless with Russia leading in shots 13-10 and a carryover power play for the US.
Second Period Recap: During the remaining PP time the only shots for the US came from sharp angles and the Russians cleared the zone off of both rebounds. After the kill, the Russian defense threw a puck right to the front of their own crease that Phil Kessel got to, but he was turned aside.
Russia's first chance of the period was a 3-on-2 with Malkin, Ovechkin and Semin against Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin. Malkin kept the puck for a shot and Quick was equal to it. Just a minute later it was the US with a 3-on-2 as Kevin Shattenkirk joined Pacioretty and Kessel. Shattenkirk took the shot but it was absorbed by Bobrovsky.
The US was doing a much better job of generating offense in the first five minutes until Pacioretty was called for pulling down Valeri Nichushkin. The Russian PP went through Ovie three times he hit the post, got blocked by Ryan McDonagh and hit a crossbar before the US could clear. On their next trip into the zone Ryan Kessler was stung by a Kovalchuk shot to the hand and a scary penalty was officially killed off. Kessler was taken to the dressing room but returned shortly thereafter with his fingers taped together over the glove..
The power play gave Russia the momentum, and Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring, splitting the defense pair of John Carlson and Orpik before sniping a perfect shot off the post and in on the blocker side of Quick.
After the goal, David Backes tried to mix things up by hitting Fedor Tyutin in the neautral zone and then going at him in front of the Russian net. They each got cross checking minors for two minutes of uneventful 4-on-4 play.
Radulov bumped Dustin Brown waaaaaaaay away from the play after Brown had tried to hit Datsyuk. Naturally Brown went down and the US went back on the PP. James van Riemsdyk tried the between the legs shot but put it right into Bobrovsky's chest. On the next foray into the zone Kessel had a shot saved but CAM FOWLER snuck down to the top of the crease and JVR tipped the puck off of Cam's skate and into the net. They reviewed the play quickly, but there was clearly no kicking motion and Cam may have gotten a stick to the puck as well. 1-1 on a dumb penalty by Radulov and a mini dive by Brown, imagine that.
With just over a minute left in the period Fowler fell down trying to dump the puck in and Malkin took it the other way, but was closed off by Shattenkirk and Quick covered up.
In literally the last second of the period Kane was called for hooking Alexei Tereshenko. And so, a much better period for the US ended tied at one with 1:59 on the Russian PP.
Third Period Recap: Even with fresh ice and legs, it was a much better penalty kill for the Americans. The most dangerous shot was from Ovie's sweet spot but painfully blocked by McDonagh.
Shortly after the kill, Brown was called for setting a pick on the wall. Really two Russians ran into each other and as they separated, Brown's foot got tangled with Tereshenko's. This Russian PP was very patient, eventually waiting for a Datsyuk shot that went over the net and all the way down the other end of the ice and then a one timer by Malkin that he couldn't elevate over Quick's stretched left pad.
With 11:33 left Radulov went off again for hooking. A soft call, not as soft as the one against Brown, but not as dumb as Radulov's earlier penalty. Kessel was the American shooter for the first minute of the penalty, but it was Joe Pavelski with the one timer from Kane right off of a faceoff that gave the US their first lead of the game. If this was the NHL Radulov would not see the ice for the rest of the game. It is not.
Pavelski had another great chance just a minute or two later going right to the net, but lost the handle before he could register a true shot.
Two minutes later, Brown was back in the box for a knee on knee hit to Vladimir Tarasenko. During the delayed penalty Ryan Callahan stopped Markov from scoring a sure goal, but it only took 18 seconds for Datsyuk to get a seeing eye shot through traffic and Quick's five hole to tie the game at two.
After that goal, play went back and forth but the Russians worked up a great shift with a Kovalchuk shot off the post and eventually Fedor Tyutin scored on a slapper from the point..... BUT the goal was called off. At first it looked to be a terrible call that Radulov almost touched it with a high stick, but it turned out to actually be because the net was ever so slightly off its pegs. Quick had bumped it just enough as he was sliding back into position after the Kovalchuk shot had pulled him out. HUGE BREAK FOR THE USA!
Yevegeni Medvedev interfered with Callahan on a dump and chase to put the US on a power play with 1:31 left in regulation. The Americans had a few shots in a flurry of action but mostly tipped wide and couldn't end the game in regulation. So we were off to the first overtime session of the tournament with 29 seconds of 4-on-3 for the US.
Overtime Recap: Datsyuk cut off the pass for a one timer to Shattenkirk and had a very close chance at the side of Quick's net as the final seconds of the penalty ticked away. Fowler blocked an Ovechkin shot off the rush.
At the halfway point of OT, Patrick Kane had a breakaway from center ice, tried to go five hole but was stoned by Bobrovsky.
In the last minute of the extra session Ovechkin had a shot from the high slot that Quick stopped with the pads, but put out a huge rebound that was recovered by Shattenkirk. Going the other way Kane got the puck to the right of Bobrovsky and tried to wait him out but couldn't lift the backhander past him from in super tight. And it was off to the shootout.
Shootout Recap: ** shooters can repeat in international play after the first set of three
T.J. Oshie: GOAL, five hole
Malkin: SAVE, glove side
JVR: SAVE, stick side
Datsyuk: GLOVE SAVE ROBBERY backhand shelf attempt
Pavelski: Threw the kitchen sink at Bob but he stayed with it for the and glove SAVE
Kovalchuk: GOAL, low glove side, post and in
SUDDEN DEATH ROUNDS
Kovalchuk: Kick SAVE, stick side
Oshie: Had Bob down but shot MISSED way over the bar
Datsyuk: GOAL, Quick got a piece but not enough
Oshie: GOAL, five hole again
Kovalchuk: GOAL, little shot dink across the grain glove side beauty
Oshie: GOAL, bar down off of Bob's skate and in
Datsyuk: STOPPED, five hole
Oshie: Went backhand looked like he had the whole net open but Bob reached back with the stick, AMAZING SAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Kovalchuk: SAVE, lots of speed blocked with the glove
Oshie: GOAL! FIVE HOLE! AGAIN! USA WIN!
*Reminder in International rules the US gets two standings points for the shootout win and Russia gets one for the shootout loss.
Good: HELL OF A GAME! If you missed it, go onto NBCSports.com and watch it ASAP. Even if you hate the shootout you have to admit that was the best one of all time. NHL take note: let shooters repeat. For the US the PP (and California based players) came up HUGE scoring both actual goals. What do you think Grandma FIddler? (TM Puck Podcast)
Bad: The Americans relied a little bit on luck, as Russia had the better of the chances for most of the game and even put one more puck in the net. Most likely they'll have a few days to work on it though with an easy game against Slovenia and the inside track on a bye to the Quarters.
Ugly: Gotta say Radulov screwed his team pretty badly in this one. Sure they could have killed those penalties and one was soft, but he's not doing anything to improve his reputation in North America.
Kevin Shattenkirk - had the second assist on the Pavelski goal, but did a great job defending and picking his spots to jump into the rush all game long.
Jonathan Quick and Sergei Bobrovsky - each made multiple fantastic saves in the shootout, but Quick was just one better.
3rd Star: Evgeni Malkin - was quite simply the best player on the ice all night. He seemed to be everywhere all the time, using his strength and speed. A very special player, even though he couldn't find a way to beat Quick.
2nd Star: Pavel Datsyuk - Obviously for the two real goals and three shootout attempts (only one goal) but also for pulling a couple of Datsyukian moves in the actual game that proved Datsyuk at less than 100% is still out of this world.
1st Star: T.J. Oshie - THE MAN in the shootout. SIX attempts, four goals. Herb Brooks would be proud. AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN!
Next Game: Sunday, February 16, 4:30am PT vs Slovenia (who upset Slovakia 3-1 today)