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Datsyuk doesn't figure in Russia's win

Red Wings' veteran returns to center for first time since suffering injury Jan. 1

Thursday, 02.13.2014 / 11:04 AM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Datsyuk doesn\'t figure in Russia\'s win
Pavel Datsyuk logged 15:09 of ice time in 17 shifts in Russia's 5-2 tournament-opening win over Slovenia Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Getty Images)

For the home team and Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk, the Olympic hockey tournament finally got underway Thursday afternoon in Sochi.

Datsyuk didn’t figure in the scoring but the Russians had plenty of fire power to out-muscle Slovenia to a 5-2 victory before 11,653 fans at Bolshoy Ice Dome. Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Valeri Nichushkin and Anton Belov scored for Russia.

The tournament is a very big deal for the Russians who haven’t won a major championship since the 1981 Canada Cup, and Datsyuk, despite a left leg injury insisted on playing in this historic event in his homeland.

The Red Wings’ two-way center missed 14 straight games after the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day. He returned to the Detroit lineup last Thursday playing in the Wings’ final two games prior to the Olympic break at Florida and Tampa Bay.

In those games, Datsyuk – who is averaging more than 20-minutes of ice time this season – uncharacteristically played the wing on a line centered by Darren Helm. Datsyuk logged just 13:34 minutes against the Panthers and 14:46 against the Lightning, and only took one face-off when Helm was tossed from the circle against Florida.

Selected to be Russia’s team captain, Datsyuk centered the top line with former NHL forwards Kovalchuk and Alexander Radulov. Whether or not he was bothered by the injury, Datsyuk just didn’t look like himself in the opener, firing just one shot on goal and winning 7-of-15 face offs.

For Slovenia, the game marked that country’s Olympic hockey debut. The Slovenians had to win a qualifying round last February with three consecutive victories, including victories over previous Olympic qualifiers Belarus and Demark.

Former Red Wings forward Jan Mursak played on Slovenia’s top line with Los Angeles center Anze Kopitar. The pair is Slovenia’s only players to ever play in the NHL.

Center Ziga Jeglic scored both goals for Slovenia, who will play Slovakia on Saturday in Group A, while Russia will meet the USA in Saturday’s other Group A contest.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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