2014 Winter Olympics: USA Routs Slovakia 7-1 to Open Tournament

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

What was a close game, at least on the scoreboard, through the first 20 minutes quickly became a blowout as six Americans scored in the blowout win.

Well that was a nice way to start off the Olympics.

The opening game for the United States was supposed to be at least a bit of a test. Not nearly as large as the one the Americans will face on Saturday when they play the host Russians, but the Slovakians were supposed to present at least a decent challenge. They probably wouldn't have the depth to really hang on, but the top-end talent was formidable.

So much for that storyline.

The Slovakians did present a kind of decent challenge for the first 23 minutes. They were outshot 11-4 in the first period but rallied to tie the game at 1 just 30 seconds into the first.

Then the Americans went to work, scoring six unanswered goals in the next 15 minutes to roll to a 7-1 victory.

Paul Stastny let the Americans with two goals while Ryan Kesler, who broke the tie just a minute after the Slovakians scored, had a goal, assist and a plus-four rating. John Carlson, stray-dog rescuer David Backes, Phil Kessel and Dustin Brown, also scored. Four players - Kevin Shattenkirk, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Kane and the brother of Amanda Kessel each had two assists.

It wasn't nearly as good a day for the Slovakains. Tomas Tatar scored the only goal from Marian Hossa, and goalie Jaroslav Halak was pulled after giving up five goals on 25 shots. Peter Budaj wasn't much of an improvement, giving up two goals on eight shots.

In what advanced metrics people like to call score effects, the shots were six apiece in the third period as the United States had the game well in hand and could afford to sit back and protect goalie Jonathan Quick.

Coming up soon, the Canadians make their debut and try to avoid the scares that were put into both the Finns and the Russians, at least for a while. We will have more on those games, and plenty on the sparking play of Valeri Nichushkin for the Russians, later in the day.

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