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Penguins' Olympic Contingent Factor Into Opening-Day Victories

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin each had multiple-point efforts, while a shot by Brooks Orpik allowed Team USA to break a scoreless tie, as the Penguins’ Olympic contingent factored into opening-game victories at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Orpik and Team USA began the day facing off against Switzerland, who gave the United States a stiff challenge before the red, white and blue was able to skate off with a 3-1 victory in a hard-hitting affair.

Neither team could muster anything on the scoreboard until late in the opening frame when the puck came to Orpik at the left point. He sent a shot towards the net, which hit off the glove of one of the Swiss defenders in the slot, and bounced right to the blade of Bobby Ryan, who fired a turning wrist shot past Jonas Hiller to give the U.S. a 1-0 lead.

Orpik did not get officially get credit for an assist because the Swiss player touched the puck before Ryan picked it up, but his ability to get the rubber to the net created the sequence.

St. Louis forward David Backes and former Penguin and current Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone also tallied for the Americans.

Crosby, who was making his Olympic debut against Norway in the middle game, picked up right where he left off in the National Hockey League season by picking up three assists in an 8-0 win.

As usual, Crosby was a factor all night. It looked as though he was going to score his first Olympic goal early in the first period, but Norway netminder Pal Grotnes robbed him with a tremendous glove save.

Crosby did help the Canadians get on the board first during a second-period power play when he feathered a perfect feed onto the blade of Jarome Iginla, who one-timed the pass home to open the floodgates for Canada.

In the third period, Crosby set up Iginla for his second goal of the night and Rick Nash for a tally late in the contest.

Malkin, who took a 13-game NHL point streak to Vancouver, continued his torrid pace with a goal and an assist in Russia’s 8-2 victory over Latvia.

Playing between Ilya Kovalchuk and Maxim Afinogenov, Malkin helped stretch the Russians’ lead to 4-0 on a second-period power play when he crashed the net and deposited the rebound of Afinogenov’s shot into the cage on a backhander late in the stanza.

Malkin later set Kovalchuk up in the left circle for a one-timer from behind the net on the near side for Russia’s seventh goal. Former Penguin Aleksey Morozov celebrated his 33rd birthday by tallying the Russian’s final goal.

Pittsburgh’s Olympic quartet has the day off on Wednesday and will next be in action starting on Thursday afternoon.

Orpik and the Americans will square off with Norway at 3 p.m.; Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and the rest of Team Canada battles Switzerland at 7:30 p.m.; and Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and the Russians drop the puck against Slovakia at 11:55 p.m.

Make sure to check Penguins Olympic Central for TV listings, up-to-date standings and stats from your favorite Penguins.
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