Credit: Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Sochi Update: Team Russia 2/13/14

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Team Russia played their first game of the Sochi Olympics today in the hockey tournament opener. They played against Slovenia, marking Slovenia’s first ever Olympic hockey game. The Slovenian team fought the Russians well, considering they only have one NHL player on the team, the LA Kings’ Anze Kopitar, to Russia’s 12. Kopitar’s father, Matjaz Kopitar, is the coach of Slovenia’s team in this year’s Olympics. In the end, however, the Slovenians didn’t manage to fight off the Russians, and lost 5-2, despite scoring two goals in the second period.

Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

On the goaltending front, Russia’s Semyon Varlamov faced only 14 shots on net, but allowed two of them to get past him.  That’s a save percentage of .857, or 85.7%. Interestingly, Slovenia’s goaltender Robert Kristan got in front of 30 of 35 shots, for the exact same save percentage as Varlamov. For comparison, Team USA’s goaltender stopped 22 of the 23 shots he faced, and Slovakia’s saved 26 of 33. That’s a save percentage of .957 and .788 respectively. Varlamov’s play wasn’t the worst in the opening rounds today, but certainly wasn’t the best. This is good news for Jackets fans, as hopefully we will see Sergei Bobrovsky get the start in net for Russia sometime throughout the Olympics.

The star of the game for Team Russia was Washington’s Alex Ovechkin.  He had one goal and one assist in the game against Slovenia, helping his country pull off the 5-2 win.

The Jackets players were pretty quiet in Russia’s first game. Of the three skaters, only Nikitin registered a point, contributing an assist.  Bobrovsky did not get the start in net, but hopefully we’ll see him play on Olympic ice soon enough. The following table is a stats update on the CBJ players on Team Russia (not including Bobrovsky).

TOI

Shots

Goals

Assists

Points

PIM

Fedor Tyutin

15:40

2

0

0

0

2

Nikita Nikitin

10:16

1

0

1

1

0

Artem Anisimov

12:46

1

0

0

0

2

Russia’s next game is against Team USA at 7:30 on Saturday morning. I don’t know who I’ll be rooting for! Well, I want the US to win of course, but I’ll be hoping for a good performance from the CBJ skaters for Russia.  I’m actually hoping Bob doesn’t get the start in goal for Russia, because I’d feel bad for him every time the US scores! The best outcome of the game, in my opinion, is for Varlamov to start in net, the US to destroy him and win the game, making Bob the obvious choice to start in net in the next game for Russia. Regardless, it’ll be an exciting game!

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