Russia receives challenge but still blanks Norway
SOCHI -- Ilya Kovalchuk said after Russia's shootout win against Slovakia on Sunday assured the host nation of having to play a qualification playoff game to advance that he would rather face Norway instead of just practicing.
That was some practice Russia had Tuesday.
Alexander Radulov scored twice to give Russia a 4-0 win against Norway, setting up a quarterfinal matchup with Finland on Thursday (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).
The high-powered Russian attack sputtered again one game after failing to score through 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime against Slovakia. Russia led 2-0 on Tuesday until Radulov scored his second of the game into an empty net at 18:53 of the third.
The game was in a scoreless tie through one period and Russia generated few chances, creating a nervous energy among the 11,423 at Bolshoy Ice Dome that has been present for all four of their games, only
|lya Kovalchuk #71 of Russia scores a goal in the second period against Lars Haugen #30 of Norway during the Men's Ice Hockey Qualification Playoff game on day eleven of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 18, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)|
one of which has come against a traditional hockey power, a game Saturday against the United States.
Norway's Olympic tournament came to an end without its best player in the lineup. New York Rangers forward and leading scorer Mats Zuccarello did not dress due to a left hand injury, leaving Norway shorthanded at the most crucial time.
However, the Norwegians played hard and focused on protecting goaltender Lars Haugen, who sees several of the Russian players on a regular basis with HC Dinamo Minsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.
Haugen was up to the task Tuesday, stopping a number of quality chances in the second period with Russia outshooting Norway 14-6.
Russia's two goals in the second period were produced by the line of Pavel Datsyuk with Radulov and Kovalchuk.
Radulov opened the scoring at 13:08 on a lucky bounce, wheeling around the net and sending a pass in front that went in off a Norway defenseman.
Russia made it 2-0 at 17:11 when Datsyuk found Radulov in front for a shot that hit the post but was tapped in by Kovalchuk.
Radulov scored into an empty net at 18:53 to make it 3-0 and Alexei Tereshenko scored shortly after that to make the score look like the game wasn't as close as it actually was.
But it was the insurance goal scored by Kovalchuk that ensured he wouldn't have to eat his words from two days prior, and Russia withstood a bit of a final charge from Norway in the third period to coast to victory.
And a nation exhaled.
NOR 0 0 0 - 0
RUS 0 2 2 - 4
Penalties - Malkin RUS (hooking) 9:38, Bonsaksen NOR (tripping) 15:26.
1. RUS, Radulov (Datsyuk) 4:12
2. RUS, Kovalchuk (Radulov, Datsyuk) 17:11
Penalties - Solberg NOR (holding) 5:47.
3. RUS, Radulov - EN (Datsyuk) 18:53
4. RUS, Tereshchenko (Tikhonov) 19:20
Penalties - Olimb NOR (holding) 1:04.
SHOTS ON GOAL
NOR 6 6 10 - 22
RUS 7 14 10 - 31
Goaltenders (saves-shots against) - NOR: Haugen (L, 27-30); RUS: Bobrovsky (W, 22-22).