Feb 10, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA goalie Ryan Miller (left) talks with goalie Jonathan Quick (32) during an ice hockey training session in advance of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Bolshoy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Olympic Hockey Preview: United States vs Slovenia


A matchup of two teams coming off dramatic victories square off with different expectations.

UNITED STATES VS SLOVENIA

Sunday Feb 16th, 7:30 AM EST

TV:  CBC

 

Here is how the teams match up:

GOALTENDING: With Jonathan Quick playing a high-pressure game Saturday and a relatively safe win, Ryan Miller could get his first start of the Olympics in this game, giving Quick a rest.  Robert Kristan made 27 saves in backstopping Slovenia to their first ever Olympic win on Saturday and should carry the load, unless they want to rest him for the inevitable qualifier and be satisfied with the one win.

EDGE:  UNITED STATES

DEFENSE:  Obviously as a gold medal contender, the US has a solid defense corps, led by Ryan SuterCam Fowler had a big goal against Russia by jumping in from the blue line. Sabahudin Kovacevic has been the workhorse on the Slovenian blue line, playing almost 23 minutes against Slovakia.

EDGE: UNITED STATES

 

PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today Sports

FORWARDS:  Anze Kopitar is the lone NHLer on the Slovenian roster, and he played almost 27 minutes in the win.  Expect his minutes to be cut against the powerhouse US, so they don’t wear him out completely prior to the qualification round.  TJ Oshie was a shootout saviour against Russia, almost winning the game single-handedly in the spotlight for the US in the skills competiton.

EDGE: UNITED STATES

 

You never want to tank a game, but you could forgive Slovenia a bit if they don’t play their best players as hard and as long as they did against Slovakia.  The win will give them a more favorable qualifier and a better chance to make it to the quarterfinals if they are a bit rested and not overworked.

 

PREDICTION: The US will have energy from the big win over Russia, and Miller (if he plays) will have something to prove.   US 5-1.

Tags: Anze Kopitar Game Preview Olympic Hockey Popular Ryan Miller Slovenia United States