Balboa vs. Drago Open Thread

This morning, one of the most highly anticipated preliminary round games takes place as Team USA (1-0-0) faces host country Russia (1-0-0) at 7:30 a.m. (NBC Sports Network).

Team USA has tinkered with the lineup that blitzed the Slovaks on Thursday 7-1…

Forwards:
Parise-Kesler-Kane
Kessel-Pavelski-van Riemsdyk
Brown-Backes-Callahan
Pacioretty-Stastny-Oshie
Wheeler

Defense:
McDonagh-Suter
Orpik-Martin
Fowler-Carlson
Shattenkirk

Scratches:
Stepan, Faulk

Jonathan Quick will get his second straight start.

…after not liking Callahan paired on a line with Parise in the first game, I think he's on the perfect hard working, checking line for this game. I'm expected a huge impact from him.

…i'm also a fan of putting McDonagh on what is likely the top defensive pair with Suter. Those two along with Martin-Orpik should hopefully be enough to neutralize the top two lines of Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin and Kovalchuk-Datsyuk-Radulov.

…this is not a must win for Team USA or Russia, but at least a point for either team should virtually assure them a spot in the qualification round.

Obviously there's a little history between the two countries in international play…

And if that didn't get you pumped up for the game, this surely will…

Oh yeah, Henrik Lundqvist, Carl Hagelin and Team Sweden take on Latvia later today at noon.

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Kevin

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