There were four games on the ticket today as all 8 teams from Groups A and B got underway. Everyone has played at least once now. While we're yet to see our first major upset, more than one favorite has already underwhelmed. Let's run it down.
Finland 8 - 4 Austria (Group B)
Michael Grabner had a hat trick for the Austrians but when you give up 52 shots on goal you're going to have a bad time. Not a lot of us in North America got to see this one, as it started at 3am Eastern, but here's the top stories I've seen about it:
- Those 4 Austria goals came on 20 SOG. What the hell, Tuukka Rask? Suomi need you to be way better than that.
- Teemu Selanne had an assist in the first but was seen receiving attention to his neck on the bench and didn't play in the second or third periods.
Russia 5 - 2 Slovenia (Group A)
This one was tight for quite a while. Slovenia put one hell of a scare into the hosts as this one was still 3-2 late in the second. Ovechkin and Malkin blew the doors off the place with beautiful early goals, but a pair from Slovenian Ziga Jeglic in the second period kept the game close. Semyon Varlamov made 12 saves on 14 shots, which is maybe not so wonderful but got the job done. Apparently he was visibly upset with screens from teammates during the game, too.
United States 7 - 1 Slovakia (Group A)
The US took a period to find their game but when they did, boy did they, to the tune of 6 unanswered goals in the second period, chasing Jaroslav Halak. Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists, Paul Stastny had two goals, and the rout was on. The 6-goal win puts Team USA in decent shape in terms of goal differential.
Canada 3 - 1 Norway (Group B)
The last game of the night was a bit of a stunner as well, as Canada only led 2-0 going into the third and gave up an early power play goal to make it 2-1. But if you saw the second period you saw the Canadians do exactly what the US did; they played a period, took a breath, found their legs, and started dominating. They had something like 12 unanswered SOG or more in the second period at one point. Canada's goals came from a Shea Weber bomb, Jamie Benn top shelf, and some serious moves from Drew Doughty.
Standings, seedings, current knockout round matchups:
5. Canada v. 12. Slovakia
6. Switzerland v. 11. Austria
7. Latvia v. 10. Czech Republic
8. Norway v. 9. Slovenia
Czech Republic v. Latvia, 3am Eastern (Group C)
Sweden v. Switzerland, 7:30am Eastern (Group C)
Canada v. Austria, 12:00 noon Eastern (Group B)
Finland v. Norway, 12:00 noon Eastern (Group B)