OLYMPIC RECAP - TIMONEN, RAFFL AND MESZAROS
While being snowed in and stuck on your couch in the Philadelphia area kind of stinks, having 12 hours of Olympic hockey at your disposal kind of softens the blow.
In case you were too busy sleeping in, shoveling out from under another 10 inches of snow, or both, I was able to tune in for all four games (what a way to spend a birthday) and here is a recap with a Flyers angle to each game, if there was one.
The marquee game for most of us was Team USA completely dismantling Slovakia 7-1 in what was the most impressive performance by any team in their opening game.
Paul Stastny (Colorado) scored two goals in a six-goal second period for Team USA which overcame a slow start to dominate the Slovaks. Phil Kessel (Toronto) had a goal and two assists, Chicago’s Patrick Kane registered assists as did former Flyer James van Riemsdyk (Toronto) and St. Louis forward T.J. Oshie. John Carlson (Washington) had a goal and an assist while Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick made 22 saves.
The lone Flyer in the game was Slovak defenseman Andrej Meszaros who actually played well, considering it was a rout.
He didn’t register a shot, but was active in the offensive zone in the first period and had a shot hit the outside of the post. He finished even in the game, so he wasn’t involved in any of the USA goals.
Tomas Tatar of Detroit had the lone goal for Slovakia even though it was offside. Jaroslav Halak (St. Louis) was pulled after allowing five goals on 25 shots in 33:30. Montreal’s Peter Budaj replaced Halak and allowed two goals on eight shots.
Later in the day, Canada defeated Norway 3-1 in a game that was closer than it should have been.
Shea Weber (Nashville) and Dallas’ Jamie Benn staked Canada to a 2-0 lead in the second period after the teams went in to the locker room at the first intermission scoreless.
However, former Flyer Patrick Thoresen scored to cut it to 2-1 in the third period and put a scare into the Canadiens.
But Drew Doughty scored a brilliant goal shortly thereafter to burst the Norwegian confidence balloon.
Carey Price (Montreal) made 19 saves for the win.
One other former Flyer played for Norway – defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen and he played very well, logging a game-high 25:38 of ice time and registering three shots.
In the wee hours (yes, I was up at 3 a.m.) Finland downed Austria 8-4 in a wild game.
Austria jumped on the board first as Flyers forward Michael Raffl (he had a strong game) made a perfect pass to New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner for a one-timer.
Finland tied it, but Austria pulled back in front 2-1. Then it went all downhill for the Austrians.
Finland scored five unanswered goals, all but burying the Austrians.
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who is the alternate captain for the Finns, played 17:31 and registered one assist. Two other former Flyers played on defense for Finland. Ossi Vaananen played 11:37 and picked up an assist while Lasse Kukkonen played 10:41 and registered one shot on goal.
Raffl had a strong game in 15:45 of ice time playing a lot with Grabner, who had a hat trick in the loss, and another Islander Thomas Vanek.
Another former Flyer played for Austria as Andreas Nodl registered one shot in 12:48 of ice time.
There were six different goal scorers for Finland as Jarkko Immonen and Mikael Granlund (Wild) each scored twice.
Tuukka Rask (Boston) struggled for Finland with just 16 saves on 20 shots, but got the win.
Bernhard Starkbaum endured the entire barrage for Austria facing 52 shots and making 44 saves.
The final game saw Russia defeat Slovenia 5-2 in a game that was far closer than anyone ever envisioned.
Five different Russians scored including Alexander Ovechkin (Washington) and Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin but Slovenia, playing in their first Olympics, were within a goal in the third period.
Ziga Jeglic scored both goals for Slovenia, who weren’t intimidated by the superior Russians playing in front of their home crowd. Not too shabby for a nation with just one NHL player on their roster – Anze Kopitar.
Robert Kristan did a nice job in net for Slovenia with 30 saves. Semyon Varlamov (Colorado) only faced 14 shots in the win.
The schedule for tomorrow: (All times Eastern Standard Time)
3 a.m. Czech Republic vs. Latvia
7:30 a.m. Sweden vs. Switzerland
Noon Canada vs. Austria
Noon Norway vs. Finland
To contact Anthony SanFilippo, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @InsideTheFlyers