By John Vogl
The United States couldn't have asked for a better start at the Olympics.
After taking a 1-0 lead into the first intermission, Team USA pounced on Slovakia with six goals in the second period for an easy 7-1 victory. Phil Kessel led the Americans with three points, including a goal, while Paul Stastny scored twice. Buffalo's Patrick Kane had two assists for a spot on the American score sheet.
Slovak goaltender Jaroslav Halak took a seat on the bench after allowing five goals on 25 shots in 33:30. He plays for St. Louis, which is believed to be interested in acquiring Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller.
Host Russia, meanwhile, needed two third-period goals to pull away from Slovenia and earn a 5-2 win. Finland routed Thomas Vanek and Austria, 8-4, as the former Sabres captain had one assist.