When Team USA takes the ice against Switzerland today, San Jose Sharks fans have two extra reasons to root for the red, white and blue.
San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski will take the ice for Team USA. In shootouts he’s a star, and is known for performing under pressure. In the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs, Pavelski led San Jose with three game-winning goals.
But, the goalie that Pavelski will try to score against today is Jonas Hiller, the same goalie who ended the Sharks playoff dreams last season.
“When you get into these one-game series, it really comes down to the goaltender,” said Jamie Baker, Sharks commentator and former Sharks player. Baker told NBC Bay Area this morning, “The goalie match ups have been pretty cool in the Olympics.”
And though Team USA beat Switzerland in the tournament opener eight days ago, Hiller stopped 21 American shots in that game alone.
Still, Team USA is the overall number one seed, so they did not have to play a game Tuesday, but it wasn’t exactly a day of rest.
“I think it’s a good thing for the US team. A big win this past week against Canada, obviously, but they also got out-played, so they have some things to work on. Brian Burk, their general manager said let’s not rest on our laurels, we have a lot of work to do,” Baker said.
Eight San Jose Sharks are competing in the Olympics in Vancouver.
Sharks goalie Evgeny Nabokov is playing for his native Russia against Team Canada Today. If Russian and the USA win their quarterfinal match ups and they win their semifinal games on Friday, then two Sharks will be pitted against each other for gold on Saturday. Pavelski will have to take aim at Nabokov, his own NHL goalie.