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Olympic Recap 2/15: Bylsma Wins, Maatta Electrifies

 

Feb 7, 2014; Sochi, RUSSIA; USA head coach Dan Bylsma at a press conference at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

 

In summarizing the second round of games for the Pens’ affiliates, they continue to impress.

Dan Bylsma, head coach of the Pens and Team USA, collected his second win in his squad’s dramatic 3-2 shootout victory over Team Russia. Forward Evgeni Malkin and his team suffered their first loss of the tournament, and is the only Pens’ participant that has one.

Pens’ defenseman Olli Maatta continues to pour it on for Team Finland. Compiling three points (1G, 2A) in his team’s win over Team Norway, Maatta is tied for first in scoring for Olympic’ defensemen – according to Sam Kasan of the Pens’ website.

Pens and Canada’ captain Sidney Crosby garnered his first point, an assist, against Team Austria on Friday. Chris Kunitz, however, has yet to post a point.

Here’s a look at how each Pens’ player has done overall through the first two games:

Team Canada

Forward Sidney Crosby – one assist, four shots, plus-2 rating

Forward Chris Kunitz – three shots, even rating

Team Finland

Defenseman Olli Maatta – four points (2G, 2A), four shots, plus-3 rating

Forward Jussi Jokinen – two points (1G, 1A), nine shots, plus-1 rating

Team Russia

Forward Evgeni Malkin – three points (1G, 2A), nine shots, plus-2 rating

Team USA

Defenseman Paul Martin – one shot, even rating

Defenseman Brooks Orpik – one shot, plus-2 rating

Analysis:

Through round two, Maatta is the clear eye-popper of them all.

Playing in arguably the biggest tournament of his young career, he’s performing better than any other teenager I’ve ever witnessed. Of course, his age is astonishing in itself, but it’s more of how comfortable he looks out there. He hardly ever misses a beat, and is skating important minutes for Finland.

I don’t think it’s a question anymore of if he’s going to be a star – he is a star.

As for the rest of the players as a whole, they totaled one assist. Not a lot of production between the other six contestants through the second game, however, there’s still a lot more action ahead, with plenty of opportunities to turn it around.

One player that seems to be having a tough time is Kunitz. Barely mustering a shot-on-net, Kunitz hasn’t done much, and it’s surprising, considering how dominant he plays with Crosby back in Pittsburgh. Despite the slow start, don’t lose confidence in Kunitz just yet. His pedigree suggests he won’t be held off the scoresheet for long.

Other than that, everybody is effectively contributing for their respective country. If Saturday’s nail-biter between Russia-U.S. is any indication of what lies ahead, we’re in for a treat.

Topics: Pittsburgh Penguins

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