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game recap

Fedorov leads Russia past Latvia

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

John Dellapina - NHL.com Columnist

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Fedorov leads Russia past Latvia
Russia 8, Latvia 2
VANCOUVER – The day before, Sergei Fedorov said that even though he was a hockey generation older than many of the most prominent players on his team, he was not a coach and didn't intend to make speeches.

Instead, the 40-year-old, three-time Stanley Cup-winner planned to just go out and have a little fun with the kids – and provide his leadership by proving he still could keep up.

That's just what Fedorov did Tuesday night at Canada Hockey Place. Before Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and Ilya Kovalchuk buried Latvia under an avalanche of goals, it was Fedorov who set up the two early tallies that ensured that the Russians would have their wits about them as they began their quest for 2010 Olympic gold with an 8-2 romp.

"We tried to play quick hockey – on net," Fedorov said. "I mean, the first game everybody is always a little bit nervous. That's natural. But we found a way."

The Russians found a way by following Fedorov's lead. And then by unleashing the fury of their generation's superstars.

"Yeah, you know, it's always nice when you get some good moments and a good start," Ovechkin told NHL.com after scoring the two goals that ripped the heart out of the game Latvians. "We were ready for it. But it's just a start and we have to continue how we play."

Especially in the third period, when the Russians saw Latvian blood in the water, circled like the goal-seeking sharks they are and scored four times to break it open.

"Yes," Ovechkin said, "we played better in the third period than in the first two."

Fedorov sensed that that would be the case – especially with a 9 p.m. PT start time contributing late-night haze to whatever opening night jitters the Russians were feeling.

"I think it was important to score right away," Fedorov said. "I figured out it might be a little easier to play with the lead. I felt out of place a little bit – it's a late game, 9 o'clock. We were a little foggy. So I felt it was important to get into the game right away."

Fedorov used his veteran savvy and still-pumping legs to set up goals in the first 7:36 by fellow KHLers Danis Zaripov and Alexander Radulov.

On the first – on his line's first shift of the tournament just 2:38 into the game -- Fedorov held onto the puck with 22 years worth of professional poise until Latvian defenseman Guntis Galvins came to him, leaving Zaripov open to convert his feathery saucer pass across the goalmouth. On the 2-0 goal, Fedorov slashed through the Latvian defense to take a pass from Dmitry Kalinin and then whip a shot on goal that produced a juicy rebound for Radulov to convert. No more Russian nerves.

"It's the first game and guys were a little bit nervous," said Russian center Pavel Datsyuk, who once learned at Fedorov's knee with the Detroit Red Wings. "Once we started getting some goals, we started feeling a lot better."

And on the two occasions when Latvia began to feel good about itself – perhaps dreaming of repeating its opening-game performance of four years before when it stunningly tied Team USA, 3-3 – Ovechkin struck.

The first time, with 35 seconds left in a first period that had settled down, Ovechkin got open between the circles. He then one-timed a puck past overmatched Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis after fellow Washington Capital Alexander Semin had pick-pocketed Galvins and fed a perfect pass.

Then, after a goal by Herberts Vasiljevs 33 seconds into broke the spell of Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov and pulled Latvia within 4-1, Ovechkin struck again. Only 26 seconds later, Ovechkin wheeled down the left side and whipped a rising wrist shot over Masalskis to pretty much end any suspense about the outcome and touch off a three-goals-in-2:05 Russian blitz.

"Oh yeah, you know, it's mentally important," Ovechkin said of scoring so soon after Latvia had. "After that goal, we just played better and better."

The Russians probably will have to play better when they step up a level in competition in facing Slovakia Thursday and the Czech Republic Sunday. But their opener was a good start – thanks to the old man who knew just how to set the tone and the young stud whose sense of timing couldn't have been better.

GAME SUMMARY

SCORING
RUS 3 1 4 - 8
LAT 0 0 2 - 2

First Period

1. RUS, Zaripov (Fedorov. Nikulin) 2:38

2. RUS, Radulov (Fedorov, Kalinin) 7:46

3. RUS, Ovechkin (Semin) 19:25

Penalties - Rekis LAT (hooking) 00:19, Meija LAT (hooking 3:26, RUS (too many men) 11:18, Bartulis LAT (cross-checking) 14:37.

Second Period

4. RUS, Malkin (Afinogenov, Kovalchuk) 18:18 (PPG)

Penalties - Fedorov RUS (roughing) 2:26, Vasiljevs LAT (hooking) 8:19, Zaripov RUS (interference) 10:16, Sirokovs LAT (hooking) 12:42, Karsums LAT (hooking) 16:57, Datsyuk RUS (holding) 18:26.

Third Period

5. LAT, Vasiljevs (Nizivijs, Cipulis) 0:33

6. RUS, Ovechkin (Datsyuk) 0:59

7. RUS, Zaripov (Zinovyev) 1:30

8. RUS, Kovalchuck (Malkin, Tyutin) 3:04

9. LAT, Ankipans (Sprukts, Karsums) 3:35

10. RUS Morozov (Markov) 18:57

Penalties - Nikulin RUS (holding) 4:08, Vasiljevs LAT (hooking) 8:41, Lavins LAT (interference) 12:34.

SHOTS ON GOAL
RUS  19 14 12 - 45
LAT  8  7  5 - 20

Goaltenders (goals-shots against) - RUS: Nabokov (W, 2-20); LAT: Masalskis (L, 8-45).

Power plays (goals-chances) - RUS: 1-8; LAT: 0-5.








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
Latvia
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
21 A. Berzins 6'3" 214 12/27/1983 Riga, LAT
47 M. Cipulis 5'11" 187 11/29/1980 Cesis, LAT
10 L. Darzins 6'3" 201 1/28/1985 Riga, LAT
16 K. Daugavins 6'1" 205 5/18/1988 Riga, LAT
28 Z. Girgensons BUF 6'1" 190 1/5/1994 Riga, LAT
70 M. Indrasis 6'3" 187 9/30/1990 Riga, LAT
51 K. Jass 6'0" 192 5/4/1990 Riga, LAT
15 M. Karsums 5'10" 194 2/26/1986 Riga, LAT
91 R. Kenins 6'0" 201 2/28/1991 Riga, LAT
79 V. Pavlovs 6'5" 216 6/17/1989 Riga, LAT
24 M. Redlihs 5'11" 179 7/1/1984 Riga, LAT
5 J. Sprukts 6'3" 225 1/31/1982 Riga, LAT
3 J. Stals 6'3" 207 4/8/1982 Riga, LAT
12 H. Vasiljevs 5'11" 185 5/23/1976 Riga, LAT
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
37 O. Bartulis 6'3" 203 1/21/1987 Ogre, LAT
29 R. Freibergs 5'11" 192 5/17/1991 Riga, LAT
32 A. Kulda 6'2" 216 7/25/1988 Leipzig, GER
8 S. Ozolinsh 6'3" 214 8/3/1972 Sigulda, LAT
81 G. Pujacs 6'0" 216 6/11/1981 Riga, LAT
9 K. Redlihs 6'2" 205 1/15/1981 Riga, LAT
6 A. Rekis 5'11" 198 1/1/1979 Jurmala, LAT
11 K. Sotnieks 6'0" 192 1/29/1987 Riga, LAT
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
50 K. Gudlevskis 6'4" 190 7/31/1992 Aizkraukle, LAT
31 E. Masalskis 5'10" 187 3/31/1980 Riga, LAT
1 E. Mustukovs 6'0" 187 4/7/1984 Riga, LAT