Russia hopes mixing up its lines will help kickstart a sagging offense, but knows it needs to start doing a better job with the man advantage.
“First and foremost our power play is the shortcoming we need to address,” Evgeni Malkin said, per Yahoo’s Puck Daddy. “We get a lot of power plays, but we just can’t convert.
“That’s why we were working on our power play for a very long time today in practice. We will see how it is going to work now.”
When the tournament started, Russia unveiled its intimidating top power-play unit, which included forwards Alex Ovechkin, Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Radulov and defenseman Andrei Markov. Now Russia is going even more top-heavy by swapping out Radulov in favor of Malkin, according to Dmitry Chesnokov.
Russia has hit a rough patch between losing to the United States in a shootout and then narrowly beating Slovakia, but Canada followed a similar path in 2010 and it worked for them. In a way, the fact that Russia didn’t get a bye to the quarterfinals is a good thing for them because it will give them a game against Norway to work on these issues before the tougher matches start.