Two Group B squads with a pair of Pittsburgh Penguins each continued to roll Friday at the Sochi Olympics, as Finland and Canada improved to 2-0 in the men’s hockey tournament with blowout wins.
Maatta now has two goals and two assists in his first two Olympic games; the NHL rookie assisted on a pair of goals by Lauri Korpikoski as Finland built a 5-0 lead through 40 minutes of play.
Maatta recorded a goal of his own in the closing minutes, providing the final margin for the unbeaten Finns. Pittsburgh teammate Jussi Jokinen fired three shots but was held without a point after getting two in Finland’s 8-4 win over Austria on Thursday.
Finland will battle Canada at noon Eastern on Sunday, with the winner taking Group B and earning an automatic bye into the quarterfinals.
The Canadians also crushed an inferior opponent Friday afternoon, trouncing Austria 6-0 (BOX SCORE) at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby recorded his first point of these Olympics – he had seven in Vancouver four years ago – by assisting on the first of Jeff Carter‘s three goals.
However, Chris Kunitz has appeared out of sync and could be a candidate to sit out Sunday’s matchup with Finland. He has but two shots on goal in two games and has struggled to replicate his Pittsburgh level of comfort with Crosby in Sochi. Martin St. Louis spent much of the game on Crosby’s right wing, replacing Carter.
As far as tomorrow’s Group A showdown between Team USA and Russia, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review‘s Dejan Kovacevic reported that Penguins defensemen Paul Martin and Brooks Orpik will likely be paired together for the highly-anticipated 7:30 a.m. faceoff.
American coach Dan Bylsma said Martin and Orpik could be deployed against Russia’s potent top line, which features Penguins star Evgeni Malkin flanked by Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. Bylsma confirmed that Jonathan Quick will get his second straight start in goal.