USA-Slovenia Olympic Hockey Live: U.S. Wins Group A After 5-1 Win Over Slovenia

USA jerseysFinal, Team USA 5-1: That’s it, and that’s all. The Americans weren’t great today, but they were still more than good enough to beat Slovenia.

The Americans finish their preliminary round play with an unbeaten record and win Group A.

Third period, 19:43, Team USA 5-1: Ryan Miller was this close to a shutout. Then Marcel Rodman struck.

Rodman just blasted a shot from the right wing that beat Miller to the stick side, and the Slovenians get on the board.

Third period, 14:30, Team USA 5-0: Phil Kessel just came close to scoring his fourth goal of the game.

James van Riemsdyk and Joe Pavelski went out of their way to try and find Kessel on a 3-on-2, and van Riemsdyk found him on the weak side. However, Kessel couldn’t quite finish the chance in front.

Third period, 12:30, Team USA 5-0:  Team USA killed off the penalty, and the game is back to even strength.

The Americans didn’t allow a shot on goal during that Slovenia power play.

Third period, 10:18, Team USA 5-0: James van Riemsdyk just got a stick up high, and he’s going to the penalty box for high sticking.

Again, another good chance for the Americans to work on special teams, this time the penalty kill.

Third period, 6:11, Team USA 5-0: Team USA could not score on the power play, and the game is back to even strength.

The Americans did have a chance when James van Riemsdyk fed David Backes with a no-look centering pass, but Backes couldn’t bury it in front.

Third period, 4:11, Team USA 5-0: The Americans are going back on the power play.

Ziga Palvin was just called for hooking, and he’ll go to the box for two.

This is a good chance for Team USA to get some work on the power play.

Third period, 3:16, USA 5-0: The Americans are now running away with the game.

David Backes just scored as he took a pass in front of the net that deflected off of his skate and was then able to get his stick on the puck to get it by Luka Gracnar.

Third period, 0:01, Team USA 4-0: The third period is underway.

End second period, Team USA 4-0: The second period just came to a quiet end, as the Americans lead 4-0.

Second period, 16:00, Team USA 4-0: The Americans just killed off a T.J. Oshie slashing penalty.

Second period, 12:17, Team USA 4-0: Team USA is awake.

Ryan McDonagh just became the first person not named Phil Kessel to score in this one, as the New York Rangers defenseman took an incredible pass through the slot from Blake Wheeler and then roofed it from the right faceoff circle.

Second period, 11:05, Team USA 3-0: The Americans’ most dominant minutes of the game just resulted in Phil Kessel’s third goal of the game.

Team USA had hemmed in the Slovenian team with a really good shift. The Americans were even able to get a line change, which got Kessel’s line on the ice. Kessel was then there to clean up a juicy rebound on the doorstep to complete the hat trick.

Second period, 7:42, Team USA 2-0: The unsuccessful American power play just came to an end.

The Americans were only able to muster one shot on goal during the man-advantage. The Slovenians also had a couple of shorthanded scoring chances.

This has not been a good effort out of the Americans, despite the fact they lead 2-0 here.

Second period, 5:32, Team USA 2-0: Robert Sabolic just wrestled T.J. Oshie to the ice after a play, and the Slovenian is going to the penalty box for roughing.

This is Team USA’s first power play of the game.

Second period, 3:08, Team USA 2-0: The U.S. squad was able to kill the penalty, but it wasn’t easy.

The Slovenians put the pressure on with much of the power-play time coming in the American zone. Ryan Miller continues to be strong in net for the Americans.

Second period, 0:57, Team USA 2-0: The American penalty kill is about to be put to work for the first time in this one.

David Backes just crashed into the Slovenian net, and he is being sent to the penalty box for goaltender interference.

Second period, 0:01, Team USA 2-0: The second period is underway.

End first period, Team USA 2-0: The first period just came to a close, and the Americans are holding a 2-0 lead.

The U.S. jumped out to the quick start and then kind of just took its foot off the gas in what was kind of a “meh” period for the Americans. They’re certainly playing like they know they can win this game without a ton of effort.

First period, 17:11, Team USA 2-0: Blaz Gregorc just had a couple of chances in the American zone from each side of the ice, but Ryan Miller made the saves on both.

Miller has seen a good number of shots in the first period, but most of them have been right in his chest. Regardless, Slovenia has outshot America 6-3 since the second American goal.

First period, 14:42, Team USA 2-0: For really the first time since the second of Phil Kessel’s goals, the Americans just started pushing the pace again.

Patrick Kane had a one-timer chance from Dustin Brown that Luka Gracnar pushed aside with a pad save. Shortly after that, James van Riemsdyk made a nifty move in the offensive end to get a shot off deep in the offensive zone, but that was stopped as well.

Other than that, Slovenia continues to hang with the Americans.

First period, 10:00, Team USA 2-0: Give the Slovenians credit, as they haven’t necessarily tucked their tails between their legs after falling down 2-0 within the first five minutes.

They have had more offensive-zone possession since that second Phil Kessel goal, but Ryan Miller has made a couple of nice saves, as he’s getting a good welcome back to Olympic hockey.

First period, 4:36, Team USA 2-0: And the Americans now have themselves a two-goal lead.

Joe Pavelski just hustled into the Slovenian zone to retrieve a loose puck. He quickly fired it back toward the net, and with the puck in midair, Phil Kessel batted it by Luka Gracnar from in front of the net for Kessel’s second goal of the game.

First period, 1:04, Team USA 1-0: That didn’t take long.

Phil Kessel just gave the Americans a 1-0 lead, as he made an incredible play to sprint into the zone and then stickhandle around the Slovenian defense before beating the goalie five-hole.

If that goal is any indication of the overall talent differential we’re looking at in this game, it’s going to get ugly.

First period, 0:01, 0-0: And we’re off. The game is underway in Sochi as the Americans look to finish prelim play undefeated.

7 a.m.: Team USA looks to be making some lineup changes for its game with Slovenia.

The biggest lineup change is that Max Pacioretty will be scratched. The Montreal Canadiens forward will sit in favor of Derek Stepan, who is making his Olympics debut for the Americans. He’s expected to be the extra forward. Blake Wheeler, who had been the extra forward in the tournament’s first two games, will slide to the fourth line on the left wing alongside Paul Stastny and T.J. Oshie.

The other notable lineup change, of course, is that Ryan Miller will be in goal for Team USA. The veteran netminder was one of the team’s standouts on the way to winning a silver medal in Vancouver in 2010.

Here are the projected lines and defense pairings for the Americans against Slovenia.

Zach Parise — David Backes — Ryan Callahan
Dustin Brown — Ryan Kesler — Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk — Joe Pavelski — Phil Kessel
Blake Wheeler — Paul Stastny — T.J. Oshie
Derek Stepan

Cam Fowler — John Carlson
Ryan Suter — Paul Martin
Ryan McDonagh — Kevin Shattenkirk
Brooks Orpik

6:30 a.m.: The United States men’s Olympic team didn’t get long to celebrate its win over Russia, as Team USA is back in action just one day after its thrilling win over the Russians.

Expect the atmosphere to be just a tad different as the Americans finish out preliminary round play against Slovenia. With a win, the Americans would finish an undefeated record in Group A preliminary round play.

Getting that win shouldn’t be too difficult. Slovenia is in the middle of its first Olympic hockey appearance, and they’re far from the deepest or talented team. The Slovenians are 1-1 in the tournament after dropping a 5-2 decision to Russia in the opener before shocking Slovakia with a win on Saturday.

Team USA, meanwhile, is coming off the aforementioned win over Russia. The Americans leaned on new American sports hero T.J. Oshie who scored on four of six shootout attempts against the Russians. The U.S. also got a big effort out of Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick who made a couple of huge saves in the shootout. He’ll get Sunday off, however, as Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller will make his tournament debut.

Puck drop from Sochi is slated for 7:30 a.m. ET.

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