T.J. Sochi! Americans Win Classic, But Russians Make Big Statement
The Americans, thanks to shootout specialist T.J. Oshie, downed Russia 3-2 in what was easily the best hockey game of the Olympics and probably the whole season.
Oshie was the star of the most exciting shootout you will ever see, shooting six times and scoring on four of them. He single-handedly outduelled Russia who relied on Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk. (In international rules after the initial three shooters teams can use any player, any amount of times until the game is decided.)
The Russian crowd, which included President Vladimir Putin, was treated to an instant classic with specialty teams playing a big role. Russia, led by the magical Pavel Datsyuk, had the edge in the game. But Alexander Radulov took two bad penalties to allow the US special teams to take control.
Datsyuk scored twice for Russia while Cam Fowler and Joe Pavelski scored for USA.
Russia had thought they scored late in the game when a Fedor Tyutin point shot made it's way pass goalie Jonathan Quick only to have video replay discover the net off of its peg by the slimmest of margins.
A scoreless OT led to the epic 8 round shootout where Oshie became an Olympic legend before our very eyes.
This game was very much an opportunity for each nation to make a large statement here at the Sochi games. The Americans tried to bring as much snarl to the game as they could, but the Russians never backed down. They controlled much of the play. Despite concerns about their thin blue line Russia remains a very serious gold medal contender.