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Devils' Olympians duel as Czechs take on Switzerland

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 8:42 AM ET / News
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Devils\' Olympians duel as Czechs take on Switzerland

SWITZERLAND vs. CZECH REPUBLIC

When: Saturday, Noon ET (NBCSN)

Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome

What's at stake: With Sweden already owning a win against each team, Switzerland and the Czech Republic are playing for second place in Group C. The Czechs enter off a 4-2 win against Latvia in the early game Friday; the Swiss dropped a 1-0 decision to Sweden later in the day.

Switzerland: Whether taking the glass-half-full or glass-half-empty approach, it's undeniable Switzerland has proven itself a worthy opponent at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and continued to advance the program after winning the silver medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championship.

On the positive side, the Swiss have received excellent goaltending. Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks delivered a shutout effort in the opener against Latvia, and Reto Berra of the Calgary Flames was working on a goose egg of his own until one unfortunate mistake led to the only goal in the third period against Sweden.

Switzerland has not been able to find any offense, however, despite putting 68 shots on net in the first two games. They were going up against one of the world's great goalies Friday in Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, but in a game where just one well-placed shot could have made the difference, the Swiss couldn't come up with it.

"We just made one mistake in our D zone and that was the difference in the game," forward Roman Wick told the IIHF website. "We saw two great goalies today, and it was a fun game -- but it would have been more fun with more goals."

Czech Republic: Since spotting Sweden a four-goal cushion in their opener, the Czechs have outscored their opponents 6-2 over the course of almost five periods. A pair of New Jersey Devils, defenseman Marek Zidlicky and forward Jaromir Jagr, got them close in a 4-2 loss to the Swedes. Each scored again Friday in the win against Latvia.

The ageless Jagr, who turns 42 Saturday, opened eyes with his goal in the first period. Set up by Zidlicky, he kicked the pass from his skate to his stick, held the puck momentarily, then snapped his wrists and picked the far corner cleanly.

"That was unstoppable," said teammate Jakub Voracek, who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal in the second period. "The way he hits it, low-blocker … it's very hard for goalies to stop it. He knows how to score goals."

Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who didn't dress against Sweden, started and made 18 saves. With so much potentially on the line Saturday, it seems likely Pavelec would get the nod again.

What's next: With Sweden having already clinched Group C, the best the winner of this game can hope for is ending up as the top second-place finisher in the three groups and claiming the fourth bye into the quarterfinals. Otherwise it's off to the qualification playoff and a game Tuesday.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
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