All four Sharks in Sochi earn byes to second round

All four Sharks in Sochi earn byes to second round
February 16, 2014, 11:45 am
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Canada defeated Finland, 2-1 in overtime, though Sharks forward Patrick Marleau did not factor in the scoring. (AP IMAGES)

Programming note: Stay up to the minute with all developing stories around the Sochi Olympics with NBC Sports’ OlympicTalk blog

Team USA’s Joe Pavelski is centering what could be the best line of the Olympic tournament so far.

The Sharks’ forward tallied three assists, all on goals by Phil Kessel, in the Americans' 5-1 win over Slovenia on Sunday. Pavelski has four points in three games, skating between Kessel and his Maple Leafs teammate, James van Riesmdyk.

[RELATED: Kessel nets hat-trick, lifts USA past Slovenia]

Later on Sunday, Canada defeated Finland, 2-1 in overtime on Drew Doughty’s second marker of the game. Sharks forward Patrick Marleau did not factor in the scoring, getting one shot on goal and finishing with a -1 rating in nearly 16 minutes of ice time.

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a great chance to end the game in the final minute of regulation for Canada, but his shot from the top of the circle on a rush was deflected and went high. Vlasic was a -1 and played 16:25, still paired with Doughty, as he has been since the start of the tournament.

Sharks goaltender Antti Niemi was the backup for second time in three games for Finland, and it appears unlikely he will see any action in the tournament at all. Boston’s Tuukka Rask took the loss and has started in two of the three games for Finland, while Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen played in the other.

All four Sharks players in Sochi will have a bye into the quarterfinal round as the tournament continues on to single elimination next week. USA will play the winner of the game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia; Canada faces the winner of Switzerland and Latvia; while Finland will play the survivor of the Russia-Norway match.