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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
Barkov & Finland double up Austria 8-4 while Kopecky & Slovakia fall to the United States 7-1.
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 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Huberdeau 71 13 32 7 45
N. Bjugstad 72 24 19 -7 43
J. Jokinen 73 7 33 -1 40
J. Jagr 69 13 25 -4 38
B. Boyes 72 12 23 10 35
A. Ekblad 73 11 24 10 35
J. Hayes 64 18 13 -4 31
A. Barkov 63 12 17 -2 29
B. Campbell 74 3 21 1 24
B. Pirri 41 20 2 5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 26 17 11 .922 2.32
A. Montoya 5 7 2 .888 3.08
 
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