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Ovechkin leads way for host Russians

MOSCOW — Capitals wing Alex Ovechkin will lead Russia's hockey team at the Sochi Olympics, with the host country looking to avoid a repeat of its poor performance at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Pavel Datsyuk of the Red Wings, Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins and Nikolai Kulemin of the Maple Leafs were among 15 NHL players who made Russia's 25-man roster on Tuesday.

Sergei Bobrovsky of the Blue Jackets, the Avalanche's Semyon Varlamov and Alexander Yeryomenko of the KHL's Dinamo Moscow will contend for the starting goaltender spot.

Edmonton defenseman Anton Belov, Slava Voynov of the Kings and two Canadiens defensemen — Alexei Emelin and Andrei Markov — are also on the list, which includes former NHL players Alexander Radulov and Ilya Kovalchuk.

Russia was knocked out in the quarterfinals in Vancouver in 2010.

Ovechkin said the team will feel pressure to win on home ice, but he also expects that to be one of the team's strengths.

"Olympics are probably the most important thing for Russians than any other athletes in the whole world," Ovechkin said on a conference call. "And since I was a little kid and since everybody was a little kid, their dream was playing in Olympic games, especially if we have a chance to represent our country in Sochi in Russia, it's unbelievable and it's going to a great thing."

Sweden: The Swedes will go to the Sochi Olympics with a roster almost entirely made up of NHL players, including six from the Red Wings.

Goalie Jonas Gustavsson, defenders Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, and forwards Johan Franzen, Daniel Alfredsson and Henrik Zetterberg are the Detroit contingent.

Coach Per Marts also picked brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin of the Canucks, Niclas Backstrom of the Capitals and Henrik Tallinder of the Sabres.

Postponed: The NHL postponed the game scheduled for Tuesday night in Buffalo between the Sabres and Hurricanes because of a snowstorm in western New York. A makeup date has not been determined. The postponement comes with Buffalo dealing with a wintry blast of near-zero temperatures, heavy winds and blinding snow that has forced the closure of most major roadways.

Game highlights: Mattias Ekholm's first NHL goal was the winner as the host Predators beat the Sharks 3-2 for their first victory in four games. David Legwand also had a goal and an assist, and Shea Weber added two assists for the Predators, who have earned points in five of six games. … Brayden Schenn scored at 1:50 of overtime and the visiting Flyers beat the Devils 3-2 after giving up a short-handed goal by Michael Ryder with 30 seconds left in regulation that forced the extra session.

Around the league: Sharks forward Logan Couture will have surgery today for an upper-body injury. General manager Doug Wilson said Tuesday that Couture has been playing with the injury for several weeks and decided to have surgery when it did not respond as hoped. … Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin had surgery on a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder and will miss 4-5 months. The former Lightning goalie, 40, has played four games with Chicago this season (1-0-1). … Ducks defenseman Bryan Allen has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Anaheim also recalled defenseman Nolan Yonkman.

at Predators 0 3 0 3
Sharks 0 1 1 2

First PeriodNone. PenaltiesThornton, SJ (hooking), :10; Cullen, Nas (interference), 8:57.

Second Period1, Nashville, Legwand 7 (Smith, Weber), 3:35. 2, San Jose, Pavelski 19 (Boyle, Demers), 6:49 (pp). 3, Nashville, Ekholm 1 (Legwand), 7:16. 4, Nashville, Josi 4 (Weber, Wilson), 11:30. PenaltiesEkholm, Nas (delay of game), 6:11; Spaling, Nas (holding stick), 13:38.

Third Period5, San Jose, Marleau 20 (Nieto, Demers), 18:38. PenaltiesWeber, Nas (hooking), 4:05; Brown, SJ (delay of game), 9:37; Clune, Nas (delay of game), 9:37. Shots on GoalSan Jose 7-10-11—28. Nashville 10-13-5—28. Power-play opportunitiesSan Jose 1 of 4; Nashville 0 of 1. GoaliesSan Jose, Niemi 22-9-6 (28 shots-25 saves). Nashville, Mazanec 8-8-3 (28-26). A15,016 (17,113). T2:26. Referees—Mike Hasenfratz, Darcy Burchell. LinesmenDon Henderson, Bryan Pancich.

Flyers 0 0 2 1 3
at Devils 1 0 1 0 2

First Period1, New Jersey, Henrique 10 (Jagr, Clowe), :57. PenaltiesBoucher, NJ (high-sticking), 4:06; Voracek, Phi (holding), 5:51; Grossmann, Phi (holding stick), 7:46.

Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesMeszaros, Phi (holding), 12:52; Carter, NJ (interference), 15:57; Henrique, NJ (tripping), 19:43.

Third Period2, Philadelphia, Giroux 13 (Timonen, Voracek), 5:18 (pp). 3, Philadelphia, Hartnell 10 (B.Schenn, Grossmann), 9:49. 4, New Jersey, Ryder 14 (Zidlicky, Greene), 19:30 (sh). PenaltiesFayne, NJ (interference), 4:27; T.Zajac, NJ (high-sticking), 18:17.

Overtime5, Philadelphia, B.Schenn 11 (Grossmann, Simmonds), 1:50. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalPhiladelphia 6-10-11-1—28. New Jersey 14-8-11-0—33. Power-play opportunitiesPhiladelphia 1 of 5; New Jersey 0 of 3. GoaliesPhiladelphia, Emery 5-7-0 (33 shots-31 saves). New Jersey, Brodeur 12-9-4 (28-25). A14,521 (17,625). T2:29. Referees—Mike Leggo, Chris Lee. LinesmenMichel Cormier, Brian Murphy.

Islanders 1 1 3 5
at Maple Leafs 1 1 1 3

First Period1, Toronto, Bozak 6 (Ranger, van Riemsdyk), 5:05. 2, N.Y. Islanders, Okposo 17 (Tavares, Hamonic), 19:16. PenaltiesNone.

Second Period3, N.Y. Islanders, Grabner 6, 3:06. 4, Toronto, Raymond 12 (Gardiner, Kadri), 8:25 (pp). Penaltiesde Haan, NYI (tripping), :53; Hamonic, NYI (hooking), 6:51; Tavares, NYI (tripping), 13:22; Carkner, NYI (hooking), 16:59.

Third Period5, N.Y. Islanders, Nielsen 16 (Vanek, Tavares), 3:41 (pp). 6, N.Y. Islanders, de Haan 1 (Hamonic, Tavares), 6:01. 7, Toronto, Lupul 13 (Kadri), 16:55. 8, N.Y. Islanders, Clutterbuck 6 (Grabner), 19:51 (en). PenaltiesLupul, Tor (goaltender interference), 2:33; Strait, NYI (delay of game), 6:42. Shots on GoalN.Y. Islanders 11-8-6—25. Toronto 14-8-4—26. Power-play opportunitiesN.Y. Islanders 1 of 1; Toronto 1 of 5. GoaliesN.Y. Islanders, Poulin 7-12-0 (26 shots-23 saves). Toronto, Bernier 13-13-4 (24-20). A19,164 (18,819). T2:33. Referees—Dave Jackson, Kyle Rehman. LinesmenDavid Brisebois, Jonny Murray.

Ovechkin leads way for host Russians 01/07/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 11:29pm]

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