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Russia looks for rebound effort against Slovakia

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Brian Hunter - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Russia looks for rebound effort against Slovakia
Russia vs. Slovakia

RUSSIA vs. SLOVAKIA

When: Sunday, 7:30 a.m. ET (USA, SNET)

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome

What's at stake: Despite a heartbreaking 3-2 shootout loss to the United States on Saturday, there's still the possibility of the hosts for the 2014 Sochi Olympics finishing atop Group A if they win and get some help from neophyte Slovenia in its game against the Americans, which also faces off at 7:30 a.m. (NBCSN) over at Shayba Arena. As for Slovakia, it's trying to avoid going winless in group play and a more imposing matchup in the playoff qualification round.

Russia: The big question waiting to be answered in the first period Sunday is how Russia will start out after coming away with just one point from a game against the U.S. that was the best in the tournament to this point. A determined group of Russians could make it a long day for the Slovaks; on the flip side, if things don't go their way early, frustrations could set in quick.

Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk almost carried the country on his shoulders Saturday. He opened the scoring on a breakaway goal in the second period, forced overtime with a power-play goal in the third and also had one of Russia's three goals in the shootout. But Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky allowed four goals on eight shots in the penalty-shot tiebreaker.

Russia got a bad break when what looked like the go-ahead goal by Blue Jackets defenseman Fedor Tyutin was disallowed because the U.S. net had come slightly off its mooring. It also had to deal with undisciplined play from forward Alexander Radulov, whose two penalties both led to U.S. goals.

"Play the same game and we'll win," Pittsburgh Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin said of Russia's chances Sunday. "It was a good game, very interesting, the best game we played so far. We showed great hockey."

Russia announced early Sunday that Semyon Varlamov will be back in goal against Slovakia. The Colorado Avalanche goalie stopped 12 of 14 shots in a 5-2 win against Slovenia on Thursday before being benched in favor of Bobrovsky for the U.S. game.

Slovakia: There hasn't been a whole lot of positive to take out of Slovakia's two defeats in this tournament. After pulling into a 1-1 tie early in the second period of their opener against the U.S., the Slovaks gave up six unanswered goals and were blown out. Redemption was expected on Saturday, but instead Slovenia defeated them 3-1 for the country's first Olympic win in just its second game.

The lack of offense to this point for Slovakia has been troubling. Red Wings forwards Tomas Totar and Tomas Jurco have their only goals in the tournament, and Jurco's came in the closing seconds against Slovenia with the game already out of reach. St. Louis Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak was much better Saturday after getting pulled from the U.S. game, but received no support. Florida Panthers forward Tomas Kopecky left the game in the first period with an apparent upper-body injury and did not return.

"We will go away and figure out what we need to do and hopefully tomorrow we will be better against Russia," Tatar told the IIHF website after the game.

What's next: Russia doesn't necessarily have to win Group A to get a bye into the quarterfinals; the top second-place finisher from the three groups advances automatically as well. If that doesn't happen, however, Russia will join Slovakia playing a game Tuesday to try to advance.

Russia
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
42 A. Anisimov CBJ 6'4" 198 5/24/1988 Yaroslavl, RUS
13 P. Datsyuk DET 5'11" 198 7/20/1978 Sverdlovsk, RUS
71 I. Kovalchuk 6'3" 230 4/15/1983 Tver, RUS
41 N. Kulemin TOR 6'1" 225 7/14/1986 Magnitogorsk, RUS
11 E. Malkin PIT 6'3" 195 7/31/1986 Magnitogorsk, RUS
43 V. Nichushkin DAL 6'4" 205 3/4/1995 Chelyabinsk, RUS
8 A. Ovechkin WSH 6'3" 230 9/17/1985 Moscow, RUS
24 A. Popov 5'10" 181 8/31/1980 Angarsk, RUS
47 A. Radulov 6'1" 200 7/5/1986 Nizhny Tagil, RUS
28 A. Semin CAR 6'2" 209 3/3/1984 Krasnojarsk, RUS
15 A. Svitov 6'4" 234 11/3/1982 Omsk, RUS
91 V. Tarasenko STL 6'0" 219 12/13/1991 Yaroslavl, RUS
27 A. Tereschenko 5'11" 176 12/16/1980 Moznajsk, RUS
10 V. Tikhonov 6'2" 189 5/12/1988 Riga, LAT
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
77 A. Belov EDM 6'4" 218 7/29/1986 Ryazan, RUS
26 S. Voynov LAK 6'0" 194 1/15/1990 Chelyabinsk, RUS
74 A. Emelin MTL 6'2" 224" 4/25/1986 Togliatti, RUS
79 A. Markov MTL 6'0" 201 12/20/1978 Voskresensk, RUS
82 Y. Medvedev 6'3" 198 8/27/1982 Chelyabinsk, RUS
6 N. Nikitin CBJ 6'4" 223 6/16/1986 Omsk, RUS
5 I. Nikulin 6'3" 216 3/12/192 Moscow, RUS
51 F. Tyutin CBJ 6'2" 212 7/19/1983 Izhevsk, RUS
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
72 S. Bobrovsky CBJ 6'2" 182 9/20/1988 Novokuznetsk, RUS
1 S. Varlamov COL 6'2" 209 4/27/1988 Samara, RUS
30 A. Eremenko 5'10" 165 4/10/1980 Moscow, RUS
Slovakia
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
61 M. Bartovic 6'0" 194 4/9/1981 Trencin, SVK
26 M. Handzus CHI 6'5" 215 3/11/1977 Banska Bystrika, SVK
88 Marcel Hossa 6'2" 218 10/12/1981 Ilava, SVK
81 Marian Hossa CHI 6'1" 210 1/12/1979 Stará Lubovna, SVK
13 T. Jurco DET 6'2" 193 12/28/1992 Kosice, SVK
82 T. Kopecky FLA 6'3" 203 2/5/1982 Ilava, SVK
65 T. Marcinko 6'4" 207 4/11/1988 Poprad, SVK
91 M. Miklik 6'0" 198 7/31/1982 Piestany, SVK
85 P. Ölvecky 6'2" 214 10/11/1985 Nove Zamky, SVK
28 R. Panik TBL 6'1" 208 2/7/1991 Martin, SVK
92 B. Radivojevic 6'0" 207 11/24/1980 Piešťany, SVK
43 T. Surovy 6'1" 216 9/24/1981 Banska Bystrica, SVK
90 T. Tatar DET 5'10" 186 12/1/1990 Ilava, SVK
67 T. Zaborsky 5'11" 201 11/14/1987 Trencin, SVK
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
7 I. Baranka 6'2" 203 5/19/1985 Ilava, SVK
33 Z. Chara BOS 6'9" 255 3/18/1977 Trencin, SVK
68 M. Jurcina 6'4" 251 6/7/1983 Liptovský Mikuláš, SVK
52 M. Marincin EDM 6'4" 188 2/18/1992 Kosice, SVK
14 A. Meszaros PHI 6'2" 223 10/13/1985 Považská Bystrica, SVK
44 A. Sekera CAR 6'0" 201 6/8/1986 Bojnice, SVK
19 T. Starosta 6'0" 196 5/20/1981 Trencin, SVK
23 R. Vydareny 6'1" 203 5/6/1981 Bratislava, SVK
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
31 P. Budaj MTL 6'1" 192 9/18/1982 Banska Bystrika, SVK
41 J. Halak STL 5'10" 186 5/13/1985 Bratislava, SVK
250 J. Laco 5'11" 183 12/1/1981 Liptovsky Mikulas, SVK