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Devils' Olympians duel as Czechs take on Switzerland

Saturday, 02.15.2014 / 8:42 AM / News
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Devils\' Olympians duel as Czechs take on Switzerland
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 - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51

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