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Penguins' Olympians Help Earn Their Teams Points

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
All five members of the Penguins’ Olympic quintet saw their teams receive points following a couple of dramatic finishes in the third day of the preliminary round of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.


Brooks Orpik and Team USA got the day rolling with a 6-1 defeat of the Norwegians at Hockey Canada Place.

Orpik did not factor onto the scoresheet for the Americans, but he did make a great play to help begin the scoring sequence on what held up as the game-winning tally.

Norway rimmed a puck along the left-side boards as Orpik stepped up and laid a shoulder into the Norwegian winger, allowing David Backes to pick up the loose puck. Backes found Ryan Callahan in the slot, and the rebound of his shot was poked home by Chris Drury in front of the cage.

Former Penguin and Upper Saint Clair native Ryan Malone notched his second goal in as many games for the Americans, who netted three goals in the final minutes to break open what had been a relatively close game. (Read more)

Canada received a much tougher test from Switzerland than they expected, needing a shootout to secure a 3-2 victory thanks to a game-deciding goal off the blade of the Penguins Sidney Crosby.

Switzerland overcame a 2-0 Canada lead with two second-period goals, then nearly rode the goaltending heroics of Jonas Hiller to an upset win.

Hiller actually blocked Crosby’s first shootout attempt as the Penguins center was stopped by the netminder’s right pad as he tried a stickhandling move from in tight.

After none of the first six shooters beat Hiller or Canada’s Martin Brodeur, Crosby got a second crack. In Olympic play, shooters can be used an infinite amount of time following a team’s first three shooters.

Crosby made the most of his second chance, swiftly skating down the middle of the ice and ripping a shot past the stick of Hiller for the only tally of the shootout. (Read more)

The final contest of the evening, featuring Russia and Slovakia, also ended up in a shootout. Pavol Demitra won it for the Slovaks by depositing a shot over the shoulder of Ilya Bryzgalov in the seventh round to allow Slovakia to pull off the 2-1 upset victory.

Neither Evgeni Malkin nor Sergei Gonchar factored into the scoring for Russia, which received its only score of the night off a slap shot from former Penguin Aleksey Morozov. Another former Penguin, Marian Hossa, tallied the lone goal in regulation for Slovakia. (Read more)

The Penguins’ Olympic contingent is off until Sunday, when Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and the Canadians take on Orpik and the Americans in an highly-anticipated primetime matchup at 7:45 p.m. First place in Pool A will be on the line when these two rivals hit the ice.

Malkin, Gonchar and the Russians conclude pool play against a tough Czech Republic squad at 3 p.m. in a contest which should decide the top seed from Pool B.

Check out Penguins Olympic Central for up-to-date tournament news, standings and statistics from all your favorite Penguins.
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