Feb 13 2014, 10:06 AM EST -
By Steve Keating
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russia got the Olympic men's ice hockey competition off to a rollicking start with a 5-2 win over feisty Slovenia on Thursday to keep the host country's gold medal dreams on track.
Going up against a Slovenian team making their Olympic debut, it was supposed to be a leisurely beginning to the tournament for the mighty Russians whose lineup features some of the world's top talent.
But Slovenia, with just one National Hockey League player on their roster, briefly threatened to pull off the biggest Olympic ice hockey upset since the 1980 Lake Placid 'Miracle on Ice' until Russia showed their class with a third period burst.
Clinging to a 3-2 lead going into the final period, Valery Nichushkin and Anton Belov scored to put Russia back in charge and settle nerves at the soldout Bolshoy Ice Dome.
Alex Ovechkin, a three-times NHL most valuable player, Evgeny Malkin, another NHL MVP, and Ilya Kovalchuk had the other Russian goals.
Ziga Jeglic scored twice for Slovenia.
(Editing by Ed Osmond)