As expected, Jaroslav Halak will start for Slovakia today when they take on the United States. This will be the first game of the 2014 Winter Olympic tournament for both teams, and they’ll be looking for a strong start in the preliminary round. Since Group A is so strong, picking up points early and often will be key to earning a first-round bye once the medal rounds start.
Jaroslav Halak starts in goal for Slovakia with Peter Budaj as the backup.
— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) February 13, 2014
Adding to the intrigue for St. Louis Blues fans will be the fact that the United States features several prominent hometown players. T.J. Oshie, David Backes and Kevin Shattenkirk all presumably have a bit of an inside track on Halak and his tendencies as a goalie, but that’s a two-way road as well.
Halak knows what each of those guys likes to do as a shooter.
It’ll be interesting to see if Backes in particular plays his usual net-driving style against his Blues teammate. It’s tough to imagine a hardcore competitor like him easing up just because he knows the guy in net. All St. Louis connections are likely severed as the four Blues players hit the ice for their respective countries.
Halak would have to lay an absolute egg against the Americans to be displaced by Peter Budaj, who is next in line for the Slovaks.
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