Things have not gone as planned for one of the heavily-favoured teams in the Olympics, as Russia has somewhat struggled on home ice. While they beat Slovenia (after a bit of a scare) in their first game, they ended up in a shootout in their next two. A disallowed goal and some heroics on the part of T.J. Oshie cost them what was otherwise the best game of the tournament so far, and they barely slipped past an underwhelming Slovak team in the shootout on Sunday.
They now find themselves the 5th seed, having to play their way into the quarterfinals against 12th seed Norway instead of earning a bye.
Norway has not won a game in this tournament, and is the 12th seed with a -9 goal differential. To top it off, they will be out with the only NHLer on their roster, Mats Zuccarello, out with injury.
After scoring 77 seconds into the first game, Alex Ovechkin has been relatively quiet, but Norway will likely provide him the perfect opportunity to get back in the zone. In the meantime, Alexander Radulov was almost a scratch against Slovakia due to a miserable performance against Team USA the day before, but more than redeemed himself in the shootout. Alexander Semin will be moved from the Evgeni Malkin line, as he has been underwhelming so far, while Ilya Kovalchuk has been absolutely stellar. Kovalchuk missed practice yesterday after he appeared to hurt an ankle on Sunday, but his coach repeatedly insisted he is fine and was just resting. He is slated to be in the lineup. Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start.
The puck drops at 7:30 ET. The game will air on CBC in Canada and NBCSN in the United States, and there will be a live stream of the game on both websites.
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