Paul Stastny leads U.S. past Slovakia, 7-1, in Olympic men’s hockey

SOCHI, Russia—Twenty years ago, in Slovakia’s first Winter Olympics appearance as an independent nation, Peter Stastny was given the honor of carrying the country’s flag into the opening ceremony of the Lillehammer Games.

In an odd twist of hockey fate, Stastny’s American-raised son, Paul, played against his father’s homeland Thursday and confirmed the quality of his own international hockey credentials.

Paul Stastny contributed two of six goals scored by Team USA during a frantic second period as the Americans went on to a 7-1 rout of Slovakia at Shayba Arena in both teams’ Olympic tournament opener.

Stastny, who plays for the Colorado Avalanche, scored Team USA’s third and fifth goals. Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs recorded a goal and two assists for Team USA, which began the tournament with some questions surrounding its scoring potential. Kings forward Dustin Brown scored a goal and had a +2 defensive rating. Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler, who got some power play time, had no points but was +2.


U.S. and Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 21 saves to earn the win in his first-ever Olympic appearance. He had served as the backup goalie for one game during the 2010 Vancouver Olympic tournament, which ended with the U.S. winning a silver medal and Canada winning gold.

Slovak goaltender Jaroslav Halak, who plays for the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, was replaced by Peter Budaj after yielding five goals on 25 shots.

Budaj didn’t have much better luck or much better help, as the U.S. capitalized on Slovakia’s inability to clear the puck out of danger in its own zone.  

The U.S. had only a 1-0 lead on a wicked shot by John Carlson after one period. Slovakia tied it 24 seconds into the second period on a play that appeared to have been offside, but the U.S. responded with goals at 1:26 by Ryan Kesler from the right circle, at 2:32 on a rebound by Stastny, at 8:16 by David Backes off a scramble in front, by Stastny again in front at 13:30, a redirection by Kessel at 14:20, and a one-timer by Brown at 15:17.


The U.S. will next face Russia, on Saturday.


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