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Slovakia, Slovenia seek first win in Sochi

by Mike Battaglino


When: Saturday, 3 a.m. ET (NBCSN, SNET)

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome

What's at stake: Each team is looking for its first win in the tournament, and this is the best chance to get it and avoid finishing last in Group A.

Slovakia: The all-NHL line of Michal Handzus, Marian Hossa and Tomas Tatar created the only goal in a 7-1 loss to the United States in the opener Thursday. It was scored by Tatar, a Detroit Red Wings forward.

"It's bigger ice, so we had a little more room," Hossa, a Chicago Blackhawks forward, told the Chicago Tribune. "When we had the puck, I felt good. The line, I felt we had a couple of great ... scoring opportunities and I'm sure as the tournament goes on it's going to get more comfortable."

Goalie Jaroslav Halak (St. Louis Blues) was pulled after allowing five goals and replaced by Peter Budaj (Montreal Canadiens).

Slovenia: In its Olympic debut, Slovenia was within one goal of Russia early in the third period before losing 5-2 Thursday.

"We said in our locker room, 'We have nothing to lose,'" two-goal-scorer Ziga Jeglic said. "We played a little better and Russia was a little weaker. It's too bad in the end that we didn't surprise them."

Veteran goalie Robert Kristan made 30 saves.

"He is an outstanding goalie and he deserves a lot of credit," Los Angeles Kings forward Anze Kopitar said.

What's next: Preliminary-round play ends Sunday. Slovakia plays Russia (7:30 a.m. ET, USA); Slovenia faces the United States (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN).

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