John Carlson, right, got the U.S. on its way to a win with its first goal scored in the games. Credit: Getty Images
There was a bit of a controversy when Jonathan Quick was announced as the starting goalie for the Americans over Ryan Miller and Jimmy Howard for the opener of the Sochi games. As it happens, it didn't matter who was in net, because all the action was on the other side of the ice.
The Americans crushed Slovakia, 7-1, Thursday morning on the strength of a six-goal barrage in the second period.
The U.S. led 1-0 after the first 20 minutes. Defenseman John Carlson tallied the goal, but Slovakia’s Tomas Tatar tied the game just 24 seconds into the second period.
The Americans would answer just 1:02 later with a one-timer goal by Ryan Kesler off a pass by Patrick Kane.
Paul Stastny potted a Max Pacioretty rebound at the 2:32 mark to make it 3-1, and David Backes got on the scoresheet at the 8:16 mark to make it 4-1.
Less than five minutes later, Paul Stastny scored his second goal to make it 5-1. At that point, Slovakian goalie Jaroslav Halak was benched in favor of Peter Budaj, who did nothing to stop the bleeding.
The U.S. added two more goals less than two minutes after Halak hit the bench to make it 7-1, and then proceeded to skate out the third period and cruise to an easy win.
"I thought we did pretty well," Paul Stastny said after the game. "Our strengths are our puck possession and our speed, and we were really able to use both of them.”
Team captain Zach Parise echoed those sentiments, saying, “We just capitalized on the chances we had, moved the puck well and used our speed."
The men’s hockey team hits the ice again on Saturday against the Russians at 7:30 a.m. EST. The host nation also won a one-sided game today, beating Slovenia 5-2.