Warning: If this is what the rest of the Olympic men’s hockey tournament is going to be like, you might want to keep a stress ball by your side.
In an entertaining battle with Ilya Kovalchuk, T.J. Oshie scored four times in the shootout to give the Americans a thrilling 3-2 win over Russia in an Olympic showdown in Sochi.
Some questioned the selection of Oshie when Team USA named its team. But the guy leads the NHL with seven shootout goals on 10 attempts this season and there was no question who Team USA coach Dan Bylsma was going to in the shootout.
Oshie wasn’t much of a factor in regulation, but he scored on his first attempt in the shootout against Russian goalie Sergei Bobrovsky. The next two Americans – James van Riemsdyk and Joe Pavelski were stopped.
Olympic rules allow teams to go back to the same shooters after the first round [three shooters for each team] is completed and Bylsma turned to Oshie again and again and again.
It paid off for the Americans, who also received regulation goals from Pavelski and Cam Fowler.
The Russians received a pair of regulation goals from Pavel Datsyuk but were denied a go-ahead goal by defenseman Fedor Tyutin with 4:40 remaining in regulation when it was ruled the net was dislodged before the goal.
The Americans can clinch Group A and receive an automatic bye into the quarterfinals by beating Slovenia on Sunday [7:30 a.m., NBCSN].
USA has a shot for the No. 1 seed, but Canada, Finland and Sweden have an edge on that because all three teams have not surrendered any points yet in the tournament.