SOCHI, Russia -- The. U.S. Men’s Olympic Ice Hockey Team scored six straight second-period goals to surge past Slovakia, 7-1, in its opening game of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games at Shayba Arena. Eleven players had at least a point, including Paul Stastny (St. Louis, Mo./Colorado Avalanche), who scored twice, and Phil Kessel (Madison, Wis./Toronto Maple Leafs), who had a goal and two assists.
At 14:27 of the first period, John Carlson (Colonia, N.J./Washington Capitals) staked Team USA to a 1-0 lead on a pinpoint slap shot from the right circle. Kessel led a three-on-two break down the right side before leaving a drop pass for Carlson to blast over goalie Jaroslav Halak’s blocker.
Slovakia’s Tomas Tatar tied the game, 1-1, on a wrister just 24 ticks into the second period.
Team USA responded quickly with goals at 1:26 and 2:32. First, Patrick Kane (Buffalo, N.Y./Chicago Blackhawks) fed Ryan Kesler (Livonia, Mich./Vancouver Canucks) for a one-timer from the right circle. Then, Stastny buried a rebound after Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, Conn./Montreal Canadiens) nearly scored a moment earlier.
David Backes (Minneapolis, Minn./St. Louis Blues) swatted a bouncing puck through Halak at 8:16, stretching the lead to three goals.
The U.S. advantage ballooned to 7-1 with a three-goal spree in a 2:47 span. Stastny tallied his second of the game by tipping a cross-ice pass from Kevin Shattenkirk (New Rochelle, N.Y./St. Louis Blues) past Halak at 13:30. Kessel redirected a James van Riemsdyk (Middletown, N.J./Toronto Maple Leafs) pass into the net at 14:20 and Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y./Los Angeles Kings) converted a Carlson feed at 15:17.
There was no scoring in the third period.
Goaltender Jonathan Quick (Milford, Conn./Los Angeles Kings) stopped 22-of-23 shots for the win.
After a day off tomorrow, Team USA faces home-standing Russia on Saturday (Feb. 15) at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. ET and can be viewed live on NBC Sports Network.