Sochi Olympics musings (Day 4)

Do you believe in unpredictable outcomes? Yes!

The United States defeated Russia 3-2 in a shootout that made stars of the Kings’ Jonathan Quick and, especially, the St. Louis Blues’ T.J. Oshie. Cam Fowler of the Ducks and Joe Pavelski of the Sharks scored for Team USA in regulation play and Pavel Datsyuk scored twice for Russia to set up overtime and then a shootout.

Of course, there was a washed out go-ahead goal for the Russians’ Fedor Tyutin after Quick appeared to dislodge the net late in the third period. At least that was the opinion of Quick’s Kings teammate Slava Voynov, who told reporters: “I play with him. I know that’s his style.”

There also was an ill-advised kneeing penalty to the Kings’ Dustin Brown that set up the second of Datsyuk’s goals, which tied the score 2-all in the third period.

Quick made 29 saves during regulation play plus overtime and then stopped five of eight shots in the shootout as the Russians went with a rotation of Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk, a former New Jersey Devil who now plays in the KHL. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s leading goal-scorer going into the Olympic break never left the Russians’ bench for the shootout.

U.S. coach Dan Bylsma opened himself up to second guessing by having Oshie take six of eight attempts against Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Oshie scored on four of his six tries, including the winner in the eighth round. International shootout rules differ from those in the NHL, with shooters able to take repeat attempts after the third round. It paid off for Oshie and the Americans, who advanced to the quarterfinals.

The teams played in Russia 34 years after the U.S. defeated the Soviet Union in the ‘Miracle on Ice” at Lake Placid, N.Y., in the 1980 Games.

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