If they made a three-star selection in Olympic hockey, Andrei Markov would have been one of them in Russia’s 3-2 shootout loss to the US. He drew the first assist on both Russian goals, sending Pavel Datsyuk in on a breakaway with a great stretch pass in the first period and then setting up Datsyuk for the game tieing goal on a power play with less than eight minutes that eventually sent the game into overtime.
Max Pacioretty and linemates Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie were back in the role of fourth liners despite their success in their opening game win against Slovakia. Pacioretty managed 8:31 mostly uneventful minutes of ice time. Alexei Emelin was again part of the shutdown defense pair with Evgeny Medvedev.
He took one shot on goal in 14:18.
Team captain Tomas Plekanec was the best player ifor the Czech Republic against Switzerland. Unfortunately for Plekanec and his Czech teammates, Swiss goaltender Jonas Hiller was better and the Czechs were beaten 1-0.
Plekanec took four shots on Jonas. In the third period alone he had three grade-A scoring chances. Hiller made big saves on him twice and he hit the crossbar on the other.
Another impressive night for the Swiss number one defensive pairing of former Canadiens Raphael Diaz and Mark Streit. Diaz led with 31 shifts and 23:29. Streit logged only a minute less. In nine Olympic periods, Switzerland has given up only two goals. Plekanec linemate Jaromir Jagr turned 42 Saturday.
Slovakia elected to leave Peter Budaj on the bench once again and, with Jaroslav Halak in goal again, they were beaten by Slovenia 1-0. First Olympic win ever for a team from Slovenia.
Canada will play Finland Sunday for first place in Group B. Both teams are undefeated with wins against Norway and Austria. After playing two games in 24 hours, Team Canada was given a day off from practice Saturday. There has been no official announcement about goaltending selection for the game. Opinion seems to be divided on whether it should be Carey Price or Roberto Luongo. A decision on whether P.K. Subban plays in his second straight game is also pending.. If Subban plays it will likely be in place of Alex Pietrangelo. In the third period of Friday’s game against Austria, Subban replaced Pietrangelo alongside Jay Bouwmeester.
All the US needs is a win over Slovenia Sunday to win Group A. Russia will play winless Slovakia.