Kessel, Van Riemsdyk, Kulemin Play First Game Of Olympics

While other teams sent up to 10 players to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent only three.

Phil Kessel and James Van Riemsdyk are playing together for Team USA while Nikolai Kulemin plays for the Russians.

After one game, all three look to be making their mark.

Kessel and Van Riemsdyk were key contributors in the Americans demolishing of Slovakia.

Team USA beat the Slovaks 7-1 while Kessel score a goal and had two assists. Van Riemsdyk also had two assists.

While their ice time was short of what they’re used to with the Leafs, Van Riemsdyk played 13:51 and Kessel played14:17, their chemistry was clearly evident, validating their selection.

Now their focus will switch to Russia, and Leafs teammate Nikolai Kulemin, when they play on Saturday.

A win for either team would open the path for them to sweep the table, as the States would have Slovenia to play and the Russians would have the Slovaks.

Nikolai Kulemin on the other hand hasn’t had quite the hot start.

Rumours of Kulemin playing with Ovechkin or Malkin proved unfounded and Kulemin had no points in his team’s 5-2 win over Slovenia.

Kulemin had 3 shots in 14:01.

Granted Kulemin will be used in more of a defensive role, but he has solid offensive senses when allowed to use them.

For Kulemin the chance to shine may be in helping shut down his teammates on Saturday.

Whoever wins on Saturday will get a leg up in group A. Whoever loses may inch towards pressing the panic button.

Tags: Sochi

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