SLOVAKIA vs UNITED STATES Men's Olympic Ice Hockey Watch Live Stream Online & Listen: Live 2014 Winter Olympics Group A Coverage from Sochi
Today at 7:30 p.m. ET, Slovakia and the United States go head-to-head in men's ice hockey live from the Shayba Arena in Sochi as part of Group A action for the 2014 Winter Olympics. The game can be live streamed here.
Slovakia will be looking to build off of an appearance in the bronze medal game at the Vancouver Games in 2010 while the United States hopes its tough experience in losing the gold medal game will help it get back to those heights this year while the team will also look to make sure that the wider ice surface of the international rink won't cause any problems. Both teams seek a strong start to Group A.
Jonathan Quick came along as the third goaltender for the United States in 2010, but since then he's won a Stanley Cup Trophy and a Conn Smythe Trophy while making a name for himself as one of the elite goaltenders in the NHL with the Los Angeles Kings, and Quick was informed on Wednesday by Team U.S.A. head coach Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh Penguins) that he will get the start in their opening game.
"It was pretty casual," Quick said per NHL.com. "We were on the ice stretching and he just came over and said it. We have three great goalies on this team and everyone wants to start. I'm just fortunate for the opportunity and want to make the best of it."
Quick is 16-13-2 through 32 games this season for Los Angeles with a 2.18 goals-against average and a .911 save percentage. Quick beat out 2010 starter and MVP of the tournament Ryan Miller, who is 14-22-3 for the Buffalo Sabres through 39 games with a 2.74 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
"It was the coach's decision," Miller said, according to NHL.com. "Obviously I want to play and compete and do my part. Right now I will just back up Jon. He's a great goalie and he is going to do great for us. We'll see where it goes from here and I'll just be ready to play."
Team U.S.A. boasts some of the NHL's most talented players, including a projected top line of the Montreal Canadiens' Max Pacioretty (26-11-37), Ryan Kesler (20-18-38) of the Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks' leading scorer Patrick Kane (27-36-63)
Slovakia realizes that entering the tournament without top liner Marian Gaborik of the Columbus Blue Jackets and defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky of the New York Islanders it will make their already difficult journey tougher.
"I don't think we will ever be among the favorites," captain Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins told the IIHF website. "We won't go into the World Championships or into any kind of tournaments as a favorite. But we do have potential and when we play as a team, as we have shown before, we can be a very strong team. But honestly, to predict who will win or even who will be the toughest team to beat is hard."
Chara has 26 points off of 13 goals and 13 assists this season.
Slovakia and the United States faceoff when the puck drops today at the Shayba Arena in Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.
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