Winter Olympics 2014: Slovenia vs. United States preview and discussion thread

A day after defeating Team Russia in thrilling fashion, the U.S. ends its round robin schedule against Team Slovenia.

After outlasting Team Russia in an instant classic on Saturday, Team USA is back at it for their final round robin game of the men's hockey tournament at the 2014 Winter Olympics tomorrow morning against Slovenia. A win against Anze Kopitar's squad would clinch first place in Group A for the Americans, thereby earning them a ticket straight to the quarterfinals. Even with a loss to Slovenia, the U.S. can still finish first as long as Russia doesn't beat Slovakia in regulation.

Team Slovenia has been surprisingly competitive in their first ever Olympic Games, giving Russia a harder time than expected on Thursday before defeating Slovakia on Saturday. Kopitar scored his first goal of the tournament in that 3-1 win and will likely see a ton of David Backes tomorrow. It's Team USA's final real tuneup before the elimination games begin so I'm guessing we see Ryan Miller in net and, hopefully, some different forward lines and defense pairings that involve pairing Zach Parise with talented linemates and minimizing Brooks Orpik's role, respectively.

Team Slovenia


Team USA
1-0-0-1, 3 points
1-1-0-0, 5 points
3rd in Group A
1st in Group A

4:30AM PST | Shayba Arena | Sochi, Russia | TV: NBCSN

Projected Team USA Lineup

Dustin Brown - Ryan Kesler - Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk - Joe Pavelski - Phil Kessel
Zach Parise - David Backes - Ryan Callahan
Max Pacioretty - Paul Stastny - T.J. Oshie
Ex.: Blake Wheeler

Ryan Suter - Ryan McDonagh
Brooks Orpik - Paul Martin
Cam Fowler - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ex.: John Carlson

Ryan Miller
Jonathan Quick

Projected Team Slovenia Lineup

Ziga Jeglic - Anze Kopitar - Jan Mursak
David Rodman - Rok Ticar - Marcel Rodman
Tomaz Razingar - Jan Urbas - Ziga Pance
Bostjan Golicic - Ales Music - Robert Sabolic

Sabahudin Kovacevic - Blaz Gregorc
Ales Kranjc - Mitja Robar
Andrej Tavzelj - Ziga Pavlin
Ex.: Klemen Pretnar - Matic Podlipnik

Luka Gracnar
Robert Kristan