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Kicking Off The Tournament In Different Fashions

Barkov & Finland double up Austria 8-4 while Kopecky & Slovakia fall to the United States 7-1.

Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 12:15 PM ET / News
By Glenn Odebralski  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Kicking Off The Tournament In Different Fashions
Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov passes the puck to teammate Teemu Selanne (Getty Images)

The trek for Olympic gold in Sochi began Thursday for both Aleksander Barkov and Tomas Kopecky and their tournaments’ started off in drastically different fashions. 

Barkov, along with Team Finland doubled up Austria 8-4 with Barkov picking up an assist while winning 85% of his face-offs and centering the top line between Mikael Granlund and Finnish great Teemu Selanne. Kopecky and Slovakia were on the wrong end of a 7-1 score, falling to the United States. 

In the first game of the day in Sochi, Finland fell behind 36 seconds in off a goal from Austria's Mikael Grabner, his first of three in the game, and trailed 2-1 halfway through the first period. They responded by scoring the next five goals through the next period and a half for a 6-2 lead after the second. Ahead 6-3 in the third, Barkov set up Jarkko Immonen for a power play goal with 8:35 remaining.

Barkov, the youngest Finnish player in the tournament, finished the game with that power play assist and won 11 of his 13 draws while finishing a plus-2 in a strong Olympic opener. Prior to Sochi, the Flying Finn had competed for Finland in two World Junior tournaments.

A huge second period by the Americans turned a close game into a rout against the Slovakians as they struck for six goals in the middle stanza on their way to a 7-1 win. The US held a 1-0 lead after one thanks to a blast from Washington Capitals’ defenseman John Carlson at 5:33 into the period.

Tomas Tatar and Slovakia evened the score just 24 ticks into the second period but after conceding the goal, the US responded in a huge way tallying three in the ensuing 2:08. The floodgates opened when Ryan Kesler and Paul Stastny scored a little over a minute apart and the US kept rolling with additional goals from David Backes, Stasny, Phil Kessel and Dustin Brown. By the end of the second period the US had stretched their lead to 7-1.

Centering the second line between Tomas Jurco and Branko Radivojevic, Kopecky finished with 17:37 of ice time while winning 5 of his 13 draws.

The Finns are right back at it on Friday, taking on Norway at noon ET (MSNBC) while Slovakia returns to action on Saturday at 3am ET against Slovenia (MSNBC).

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 55 32 17 6 153 127 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 55 28 18 9 138 134 65
5 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
6 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
7 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
8 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
9 NJD 56 28 21 7 124 124 63
10 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
11 CAR 55 24 21 10 131 143 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 BUF 56 22 28 6 131 155 50
15 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 52 17 23 14 40
J. Huberdeau 55 11 29 12 40
J. Jokinen 55 11 27 12 38
V. Trocheck 55 17 18 3 35
A. Barkov 43 16 19 13 35
R. Smith 55 18 16 12 34
B. Pirri 51 11 13 -3 24
A. Ekblad 51 11 13 19 24
B. Campbell 55 5 18 20 23
N. Bjugstad 40 9 10 -3 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 24 13 5 .927 2.23
A. Montoya 8 4 1 .926 2.06

 
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