Photo credit: Greg Beacham

​After their heartbreaking overtime loss to Canada in the gold-medal game four years ago, the United States have been itching to avenge themselves. Early Thursday morning, their quest for gold will begin against Slovakia.

At 4:30am, local fans of the Los Angeles KIngs will either have to wake up really early and stay up really late to not only see how their country fares but how two of their own, Jonathan Quick and Dustin Brown, do representing the red, white and blue.

While he does know which netminder will start, USA head coach Dan Bylsma did not reveal who. However, according to a tweet from reporter Mark Lazerus, Ryan Miller spoke to the media on Monday while Jonathan Quick walked right past. We'll see who gets the nod in due time.

Dustin Brown is taking part in his second Olympiad, this time as the alternate captain for the American squad.

With the likes of Kane, Pavelski and Callahan to name just three, the United States looks to be a formidable opponent. But don't tell that to the Slovakians.

While they were never notorious for playing serious threats in years past, Slovakia is coming off a 4th-place finish in Vancouver, their best finish in men's hockey.

In addition to towering captain Zdeno Chara, the Slovaks have a good balance of youth and veteran leadership; Former King MIchal Handzus is one of the leaders up front along with his Chicago teammate Marian Hossa. Tomas Kopecky and breakout star Tomas Tatar also contribute up front.

With Chara on the blueline are a pair of Andrejs: Meszaros and Sekera while in goal, the Slovaks have a formidable duo in Jaroslav Halak and Peter Budaj.

While most Kings fans are understandably hoping for an American win, this contest may turn out to be a lot closer than most anticipate.

Enjoy the game!