SOCHI – The Russian Olympic team owes Pavel Datsyuk the biggest group hug in history. Datsyuk was his magical self in Saturday’s game against USA, but it was not enough to overcome two penalties by Alexander Radulov and the shootout magic of T.J. Oshie.
With Russian president Vladimir Putin looking on, Radulov took two avoidable, lazy penalties. Both of them resulted in power-play goals for USA and provided the margin of victory in its 3-2 shootout win over the hosts. The penalties were incredibly costly, given that the Russians outplayed the Americans through long stretches of the game and probably deserved to win. But Oshie, one of the best shootout players in the NHL scored on an incredible four of his six, yes six, shootout attempts to give USA the victory.
Datsyuk was spectacular all game, providing both goals for the Russians and setting his linemates up for prime opportunities. It was easy to see why he is considered among the best players in the world. Speaking of top players on the planet, Patrick Kane created a host of opportunities, including a breakaway in overtime, but was turned away in a strong effort by Sergei Bobrovsky.
THN’s Three Stars
1. T.J. Oshie
2. Pavel Datsyuk
3. Jonathan Quick