Russia showed why they are a favourite to win the gold this Olympics with a dominating victory over Latvia 7-2 Tuesday night.
The victory was led by Alexander Ovechkin, who scored two goals, and Ilya Kovalchuk, who scored a goal and assisted on one as well.
Both of Ovechkin's goals were scored in similar fashion with a one-time from the middle of the zone, where he has been notorious to score from since he entered the NHL.
Three of Russia's goals were scored in a flurry during the first period, getting the first one just over two minutes into the opening period. The team put the doubts of team depth to bed by getting its first two goals from Danis Zaripov, who would score another later in the game, and Alexander Radulov, both players from the Kontinental Hockey League half of the team.
Latvia was able to squeak two goals past Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov thanks to efforts by Herberts Vaseiljevs and Girts Ankipans.
Although controlling the majority of the game, there was an extended period in the second period where Russia appeared sluggish as they saw Latvia have a number of solid scoring opportunities to give a minor test to the power house known as Russia.
After Latvia scored its first goal just under a minute into the third period, the sleeping bear known as Russia finally woke up as they scored three goals in less than two minutes.
Despite allowing two goals on 20 shots, Nabokov did not get tested very much, with his biggest test occurring around the half way mark of the second period where he faced a flurry of opportunities in a series of five minutes.
Other contributors to Russia's blowout of Latvia included Evgeni Malkin, who also added an assist, and Captain Alexei Morozov. Olympic veteran Sergei Fedorov recorded two assists.
One flaw on Russia's play was their power play, which saw them only score on once on eight opportunities, but their penalty kill stopped Latvia on all five of their power play chances.
Russia's next game will be against Slovakia on Thursday and Latvia will play again next on Friday against the Czech Republic
About the Author
Written by Matt Shott
22 year old hockey fan born and raised in Phoenix, AZ. Weird, huh? Entire family minus myself and my brother were born in Toronto, ON so thats how I became a fan of this great sport. I have worked at Ice rinks since I was 14 and spend all day reading hockey stories. I eat, sleep, coach, play, and basically LIVE hockey. I became a Red Wing fan thanks to EA Sports NHL '95 and haven't looked back since (Why would I?). Parents were Season Ticket holders for the Phoenix Coyotes since day 1 and when they moved to Portland 3 years ago, I picked up where they left off and have found a soft spot for them. I moved to Toronto in January '10 to attend Centennial College's Sports Journalism program, so I am becoming a Maple Leafs fan in the process. Its hard to do after 16 years of being a Red Wings fan. So to recap: Wings fan at heart, Leafs fan on the outside, and always carry a soft spot for the Coyotes.