The United States hockey team had no problem with Slovakia in their Group A Olympic opener, leaving the rink with a 7-1 win that included a six-goal outburst in the second period. Despite the final score, however, the U.S. team didn't dominate their opponent from the start.
The first period actually ended with a 1-0 score, all thanks to an early goal by Capitals defenseman John Carlson. Carlson put the United States on the board and helped pave way to a blowout that should help the Americans in case of a tiebreaker later on in the Group A standings, as goal totals can determine who advances.
--Carlson scored 14:27 into the first period after a Slovakia turnover at center ice. James Van Riemsdyk won a battle on the boards and slid the puck up the ice into the U.S. team's offensive zone. There he found Phil Kessel who led an odd-man rush towards goaltender Jaroslav Halak. Kessel skated forward, then slid a drop pass behind him to set up Carlson who was skating and ready for a slapshot at the right circle. He found the back of the net and gave his country a 1-0 lead.
--Carlson earned a second point with an assist on the United States' seventh goal of the morning. Patrick Kane was trapped at the blue line and chipped a saucer pass behind him off the boards. The puck caromed right to Carlson who turned around looking to set up a scoring chance. He fed Dustin Brown who skated directly in front of the net for an open look past Peter Budaj. Budaj had replaced Halak less than two minutes prior and had already surrendered a goal. It was the second goal scored on Budaj in a :57 second stretch.
Points - 2 (goal, assist)
Shots on goal - 2
Penalty minutes - 0
Plus/minus - +3
Ice time - 13:17
Shifts - 17
Average shift - 0:46
Saturday 2/15 - United States vs. Russia at 7:30 a.m.