This rivalry dates back decades, the United States of America and Russia. It's not just a hockey rivalry, it's also a national rivalry. Let's forget the history and look at the hockey. I'm sure most of you remember the "Miracle on Ice," a group of young college hockey players taking on a tough, serious, Soviet hockey team during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York.
Everyone thought that the Soviets were going to sweep the floors with this young inexperienced United States team. To the worlds surprise, this young American defeated the Soviets, 4:3. The United States later won gold in hockey, a true underdog story. Today, the Soviet Union is no more, but the hockey rivalry lives on, especially this year with the Olympics being held in Sochi, Russia.
The United States will take on the home-nation favorites, the Russians today. There will be a lot of pressure to win on both sides of the ice. First you have the Russians, since they have the home ice advantage as well as the national pressure to beat the Americans, the Russians will be playing some of their best hockey yet. They have the talent on the team to keep the American close. Great scoring from star forwards, Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and Evgeni Malkin. The Russians also have solid guys between the pipes. The Russians will not be starting Semyon Varlamov. Sergei Bobrovsky will be making his debut between the pipes.
The United States will be looking to improve their record to 2-0 as they take on the Russians. The Americans will be ready to perform today especially after an amazing game against the Slovakians where they had a six goal rally in the second period and were able to pull out a 7:1 victory. The Americans have a solid defensive core who is able to score when they need to and backup their goaltender if necessary. The American forwards will also be on fire, exclusively, Paul Stastny, who recorded 2 goals against the Slovakians. Also watch for forwards, James Van Riemsdyk, T.J. Oshie, Phil Kessel, and Patrick Kane. They each had two assists in their rally against the Slovakians on February 13. Lastly, the Americans have goaltender Jonathan Quick to thank for a spectacular performance in net. He faced 23 shots and recorded 22 saves. He will be starting in net against the Russians.
I'm sure you all are wondering who is going to win this game. Looking at the goaltenders numbers, Quick had a save percentage of .956 and Varlamov had a save percentage of .857. If you go by these numbers alone, the United States wins hands down, that is if they play the same way as they did against the Slovakians. Even if the Russians play the same way against the Americans as they did against the Slovenians, the United States wins. I think its pretty clear who will win today, the United States will win a close one against the home-town boys.