Olympic Hockey Preview: Russia vs Slovakia


Two teams coming off very disappointing losses Saturday get right back at it on Sunday to wrap up the preliminary round.


Sunday Feb 16th, 7:30 AM EST


Here is how the teams match up:

GOALTENDING: Sergei Bobrovsky was very good in Saturday’s loss to the US, and should be the starter the remainder of the way and is the reigning Vezina Trophy winner.  In the Slovak loss to Slovenia, and in previous games Jaroslav Halak has not looked good at all.

Halak has had a rough Olympics. PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today Sports


DEFENSEZdeno Chara should give Slovakia an edge against most teams, and defense would have to be considered the weakness for Russia.  However, depth is an issue on both sides, and Andrei Markov has been pretty good for Russia.


Expect the Big 3 for Russia to come out storming against Slovakia PHOTO CREDIT: USA Today Sports

FORWARDS:  Slovakia hasn’t been able to get much going offensively, with just 2 goals in 2 games. With talent like Marian Hossa they should be able to score, but might have had that job made even tougher as Tomas Kopecky was drilled with an elbow to the head Saturday and is questionable for Sunday. Russia has top end offensive talent and Pavel Datsyuk is coming off a strong 2 goal performance against the US


Russia will not be a happy team after dropping the shootout decision to the Americans, in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin no less.  The point they earned was an important one as it gives them the edge in the quest for the 4th automatic quarterfinal spot as the top 2nd place team.

PREDICTION:  Slovakia’s nightmare tournament will continue, and it could be another lopsided one.  Russia 7-2.