It was an exciting game with lots of skill on display, chances at both ends of the rink, and great goaltending by Russia’s Sergei Bobrovsky and American Jonathan Quick. They were able to keep the game scoreless for nearly 30 minutes, before the impressive collection of star skaters could break through for a goal.
Pavel Datsyuk opened the scoring for Russia with 10:45 remaining in the second period. Andrei Markov hit Datsyuk in stride with a tape to tape pass that allowed the Red Wings sniper to split American defenders Brooks Orpik and John Carlson, and snap a shot just out of Quick’s reach, off the far post and in.
It was an excellent pass from Markov, who played a solid game for the Russians. Markov led all defensemen in ice time with 20:07, as Russia dressed eight defenders and kept all of them involved in the game.
Markov would later set up Datsyuk again for the Russians second goal of the game, that would send the game to overtime. The United States were grasping a 2-1 lead on power play goals by Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski, with 7:34 left to play, when Dustin Brown was sent to the box for tripping. The impressive power play of the Russians went to work and tied the game just 18 seconds later.
Russia thought they pulled ahead in the dying minutes of the game, but a potential game winning goal was waved off, because Quick had knocked the American goal off its moorings prior to the puck beating him.
The game went to overtime, and Bobrovsky made the biggest save of the five minute four on four session when Patrick Kane found himself on a breakaway. Kane snuck behind Russia’s defensemen but could not beat the defending Vezina Trophy winner.
The game would go to a shootout, where Pacioretty likely would have declined even if his name were called. If you can recall, Pacioretty had a pair of penalty shots in a recent game against the Vancouver Canucks, but was stopped on both occasions by Roberto Luongo. Instead, his linemate stole the show.
T.J. Oshie shot first for the U.S. and beat Bobrovsky to open the scoring. Kovalchuk was the only Russian to respond so the teams were tied at 1 afer the original three shooters. In international hockey, when a shootout goes to extra shooters you can use anyone you want, even if they have already shot.
Since Oshie had already scored he went again. And again. And again, until he scored four times on six attempts and the United States won the shootout.
The win puts the Americans on top of Group A ahead of Russia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Barring a major upset when they play Slovenia tomorrow, the Americans should finish on top of the group. Since an overtime or shootout win only gives them two points, Pacioretty and the U.S. will likely finish third in the overall standings, and receive a bye to the Quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Russia gets one point for the shootout loss, and a win tomorrow against a struggling Slovakian squad will give them seven points in the standings. Unless Canada defeats Finland in overtime tomorrow, Russia will finish fourth and also receive a bye through the Qualification Round and into Wednesday’s Quarters.
Alexei Emelin played a quietly solid 14:18 on what was the Russians second most used defense pair with Evgeny Medvedev. The two play a simple, yet effective game in shutting down some of the best players in the world.
Max Pacioretty played another solid game for the United States. He was only on the ice for 8:31 in the game, the third least of any American. However, when he was on with his linemates Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie, they were very effective and controlling the play in the Russian zone.