The United States defeated Slovakia 7-1 in their opening game of the Olympic tournament on Thursday. Here are five things we learned:
• Amanda Kessel’s brother is pretty good. Phil Kessel matched his goal total and surpassed his point total from the 2010 Olympics in the span of one period for the U.S. His goal and two assists led all players offensively and his four shots tied with Max Pacioretty for the team lead. He was everywhere playing on a line with Toronto Maple Leaf teammate James van Riemsdyk and Joe Pavelski.
• The U.S. counterattack is dangerous. Milan Bartovic had a glorious opportunity for Slovakia in the first period as he streaked down the ice to Jonathan Quick’s right. But the forward put a slap shot wide of the U.S. net and the Americans counterattack ended with a goal after Kessel’s drop pass to John Carlson beat Jaroslav Halak.
It happened again in the second period after Tomas Tatar tied the game at one. The U.S. struck back 1:02 later with a Ryan Kesler goal to regain the lead. Firepower was a question mark for the Americans coming into the tournament, but they answered that big time on Thursday.
• Record-tying performance. The six-goal middle frame by the U.S. tied the modern Olympic record for goals scored in a single period. It was also the most lopsided loss by the Slovaks to the U.S. at the senior international level.
• There are no fourth lines at the Olympics. You won't find checking lines at all-star competitions, so it's no surprise that the line of Max Pacioretty-Paul Stastny-T.J. Oshie were prevalent on the scoresheet for the U.S.. The trio combined for six points, with Stastny scoring two of the Americans' six-goal second period. They gave Slovakia fits with their cycling and work down low. Nothing could stop them.
• The young defense is just fine. Team USA general manager David Poile and his staff went with a young, speedy defense when they selected their final Olympic roster. In Game 1, the kids proved to be alright. The 24-year old Carlson tallied the opening goal and finished with two points and 25-year old Kevin Shattenkirk and 24-year old Ryan McDonagh were a formidable pairing finishing with 19:14 and 18:38 of ice time, respectively McDonagh even showed some defensive skills playing from his stomach.
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