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San Jose Sharks start out on right skate in Sochi Olympics

Team USA
Team USA
Martin Rose, Getty Images

The San Jose Sharks have four players at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. None played a major role on the boxscores of the first games for their three teams (Team Finland, Team USA and Team Canada in the order they were played), but all were part of victories Thursday, February 13.

The pictured recaps include a breakdown of statistics from games that ended before 3:00 a.m., after 7:00 a.m. and before noon PDT Thursday. In the interest of full disclosure, the need to be timely prevented any of the games from being viewed in their entirety.

Antti Niemi did not play or even dress for Team Finland, but the good news for him and Thursday's dressed backup Kari Lehtonen is that starter Tuukka Rask was shaky in the beginning of the game and at no point dominant in an 8-4 win. That means either or even both could get a shot in net in the next two games.

Joe Pavelski did not look good statistically with no points for Team USA, though he had four shots. He was also on the ice for only one goal—the one his line surrendered and the only one Slovakia scored.

However, announcer Doc Emrick pointed out the play should have been whistled offside before the score. Pavelski also contributed to the first score by getting to the loose puck in the neutral zone before getting off the ice.

Both Patrick Marleau and Marc-Edouard Vlasic were also in the lineup for Team Canada Thursday in an unimpressive 3-1 win over Team Norway. Both were solid but not among their team's stars.

Marleau had a secondary assist on the last score and five shots on goal in 15:50 on the ice, and Vlasic had no points or shots in 12:59; both finished plus-1. Norway's only goal came on an early third-period power play to make it close, but was answered by Drew Doughty just over a minute later to net the final result.

The next game in the Sochi Olympics involving any Sharks is just 24 hours after the Canadians started their first game. They take on the Austrians while the Finns will play their Norwegian neighbors, both at 9:00 a.m. PST.

Team USA
Team USA Martin Rose, Getty Images

Team USA

Team USA is the most-followed for San Jose Sharks fans, so the Americans lead the recap even though they were not the first to play. Their game was expected to be one of the two best games to start the Sochi Olympics, but quickly became a blowout.

With over five minutes left in the first, Joe Pavelski scooped up a giveaway at the defensive blue line and advanced the puck to James van Riemsdyk. He found Toronto Maple Leafs teammate Phil Kessel heading into the zone for a drop-pass John Carlson one-timed into the top corner late in the first.

Team Slovakia answered early in the second on a goal by Tomas Tatar (assist for Marian Hossa), but Team USA's Ryan Kesler responded with another one-timer goal 62 seconds later (assist Patrick Kane) that opened the floodgates.

In just over 13 minutes, two goals by Paul Stastny and one each by Kessel (who also had another assist), Dustin Brown and David Backes increased the lead to 7-1. Additional assists on those goals were registered by Kane, van Riemsdyk, Kesler, Kevin Shattenkirk, Max Pacioretty, John Carlson and two by T.J. Oshie.

There was no scoring in the third period.

Team Finland
Team Finland Bruce Bennett, Getty Images

Team Finland

Team Finland had a shaky start in the first half of the first period, especially in the defensive end. After giving up two goals just 11 minutes in, then settled in until the game was out of reach.

Almost all of the damage from Team Austria came with its NHL forwards on the ice. Michael Grabner scored from Michael Raffl just 36 seconds into the game and Michael Hundertpfund regained the lead for his country with a goal from Tomas Vanek and Oliver Setzinger near the middle of the first.

In between, Mikael Granlund scored from Teemu Selanne and Sami Vatanen. Sami Lepisto tied the game back up with the help of Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu about two minutes after the Finns gave up their second goal. Olli Maatta added another from Olli Jokinen and Jarkko Immonen another from Jori Lehtera and Ossi Vaananen before the first intermission.

Jussi Jokinen added a goal after intermission thanks to an assist from Patri Kontiola, who put the game out of reach with the help of Granlund with 7:50 left in the second.

Grabner added two more goals to get the hat trick in the third (two assists for Brian Lebler and one for Mattias Trattnig), but Finland was not done. Immonen and Granlund added scores, with assists on both for Vatanen and one more each going to Kimmo Timonen and Aleksander Barkov.

Team Canada
Team Canada Paul Gilham, Getty Images

Team Canada

Team Canada came in the heavy favourite (in keeping with Canadian spellings) in their group and is still favoured to take it all. Team Norway is really only competing with Team Austria to not finish worst in the same group.

The game was much closer than that. It took Canada more than 26 minutes to score (on a delayed penalty) when Shea Weber put home a feed from Duncan Keith. The secondary assist went to Patrice Bergeron, who had the primary assist on the next goal by Jamie Benn in the final five minutes of the frame; Drew Doughty had the secondary assist.

Former NHL player Patrick Thoresen put his team on first shift of the power play in the third, with an assist by Mathis Olimb. Canada answered 85 seconds later with a goal by Doughty from Ryan Getlaf and Patrick Marleau.

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