Five of the seven man Canadiens contingent saw action in Day Two of the Olympic hockey tournament; Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Peter Budaj. Four of them part of winning efforts.
Carey Price had very little work in the 3-1 win over Norway to start Canada’s defense of it’s Vancouver gold medal. There is absolutely no way to rate his performance. In the second period he didn’t see a shot until 18:45 and wound up making two saves in the period. He stopped 19 of 20 shots and dealt with only six scoring chances. Have to give him a pass on his giveaway that created Norway’s only goal early in the third period. It looked to me like to got lost in those extra two feet behind the net took his eye off the puck and flat out fumbled it. He was quickly back in the net but the giveaway led to a shot and a difficult deflection. Price won’t be in the lineup for Friday’s game against Austria. Mike Smith will be Roberto Luongo’s backup. P.K. Subban didn’t dress for this game but has been confirmed for Austria.
After pre-tournament practice on a line with Patrick Kane and Ryan Kesler, Max Pacioretty wound up playing with Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie in the 7-1 win over Slovakia on Thursday. US head coach Dan Bylsma called the line “our strongest line tonight.” They started the game as the fourth line but in the third period they were taking a regular shift. Pacioretty led the trio with 11:30 ice time (4:39 in the third period) They recorded five scoring points as a line and each of them was plus-2. Pacioretty assisted on one of Stastny’s two goals.
Slovakia’s Peter Budaj came in relief of former Canadien Jaroslav Halak after he gave up US goals on three straight shots and five on 25 shots through the first 33:30 of the game. Budaj gave up a goal to Phil Kessel on the first shot he saw and a minute later Dustin Brown scored on him. He then stopped everything the US threw at him in the final 24:43. Overall he stopped six of eight shots. There will now be speculation that Budaj will start Slovakia’s next game against Slovenia on Saturday.
In Russia’s 5-2 win over Slovenia Andrei Markov was paired with the LA Kings Slava Voynov at even strength and was part of a scary power play unit with Ovechkin beside him on the right point and Malkin, Kovalchuk and Radulov up front. That power play produced a goal. Markov logged a team-high 22 shifts in the game. Like most European teams, the Russians like to set up five man units. Alexei Emelin was paired with his former Ak-Bars Kazan teammate Evgeni Medvedev. The forward line in that group 5-on-5 was Malkin, Ovechkin and Semin. Good company.
Scheduled for Friday P.K. Subban and Canada vs. Austria; Tomas Plekanec and the Czechs vs. Latvia. Also Sweden against Switzerland and former Habs Raphael Diaz and Mark Streit. Norway plays Finland. Finland beat Austria 8-4 Thursday despite a hattrick performance from Austria’s Michael Grabner.