Sights From Sochi

Panthers play-by-play man Steve Goldstein is in Sochi to cover his second straight Winter games for Westwood One radio. And while he's there, he'll be blogging on his experiences and his thoughts on the hockey tournament and the the Winter Games in general. Only seen on floridapanthers.com, enjoy as Steve brings you closer to the action (unless you're actually in Sochi and at the games that is).

 

Entering The Knockout Rounds

The United States won Group A by going undefeated and earned a bye to the quarterfinals.
Sunday, 02.16.2014 / 2:00 PM ET
By Steve Goldstein - FloridaPanthers.com / Sights From Sochi
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Sights From Sochi

For the second straight Olympics, Team USA has won its first three games, beating Slovakia 7-1 on Thursday, outlasting Russia in dramatic fashion with a 3-2 shootout win on Saturday and finishing it off on Sunday with a 5-1 win over Slovenia.

Here is Sochi, they've outscored their opponents 15-4 in those games. In Sunday's win over Slovenia, Maple Leafs sniper Phil Kessel was the star with a hat trick, the first two goals coming in the opening 4:33 of the game to set the tone. Any thought of a letdown after the dramatic shootout win against Russia was gone in a hurry. Sabres netminder Ryan Miller got the call in net and had his shutout spoiled by a Slovenian goal in the final minute.

It's now on to the qualification and then quarterfinal rounds, where the real pressure starts. The losers go home, winners of the quarterfinals go to the semis to play for a shot at gold. By winning its group, the USA has earned a bye into the quarters which allows the team two days off. They'll also be fresh, playing their opponent on the second of back-to-back days.

Everything here in Russia has been top notch. The accommodations, transportation, food and security has been as good as any of the other three Olympics I've been to. The best part for me though is that the hockey action now picks up in a big way, although even with medals on the line it will be tough to top the thrilling 8-round shootout between the US and Russia on Saturday as TJ Oshie and Jonathan Quick helped the US earn the extra point and the Group.

If there was an example of why the NHL should continue to send its players to the Olympics every four years, that game was it. The buzz created in America by that game was off the charts and many people who never watch hockey were watching and listening to that game.

Dramatic sporting events create fans. That game was as dramatic as they come. 

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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