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United States' Quest for Gold Continues vs. Czechs

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 6:16 PM / News
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United States\' Quest for Gold Continues vs. Czechs
What\'s at stake: A trip to the semifinals and a chance to play for a medal. The United States, which finished second in the preliminary round with two regulation wins and a shootout victory, would like to continue its quest to go one step further than it did four years ago in Vancouver, when it lost to Canada in overtime in the gold-medal game. The Czech Republic will try to continue its strong results in Olympics played outside of North America; they won gold in 1998 in Japan and bronze in 2006 in Italy.
By Adam Kimelman | NHL.com

CZECH REPUBLIC vs. UNITED STATES

When: Wednesday, Noon ET (USA, TSN2)

Where: Shayba Arena

What's at stake: A trip to the semifinals and a chance to play for a medal. The United States, which finished second in the preliminary round with two regulation wins and a shootout victory, would like to continue its quest to go one step further than it did four years ago in Vancouver, when it lost to Canada in overtime in the gold-medal game. The Czech Republic will try to continue its strong results in Olympics played outside of North America; they won gold in 1998 in Japan and bronze in 2006 in Italy.

Czech Republic: After jumping to a 4-0 lead in their qualification playoff game Tuesday against Slovakia, the Czechs had to survive a furious late rally to hold on for a 5-3 victory.

Roman Cervenka scored twice and Ales Hemsky and David Krejci had goals, but the Czechs weren't able to put the game away until Tomas Plekanec's empty-net goal in the game's final minute.

While happy with the outcome, the Czechs know they need to raise their game if they want to continue on in the tournament.

"We were just very, very static," Hemsky told the IIHF website. "Suddenly they [Slovakia] came to life and scored some goals. All of a sudden the game changed. We can't afford to be static like that. We have to play out the game."

United States: After three preliminary-round games, coach Dan Bylsma had one word for his team: faster.

"I would say there are opportunities that we have missed that we can play quickly, play north, push the pace up the ice," Bylsma said following the Americans' practice Tuesday. "That's something we did well at times; I just think we can be better at realizing that."

Bylsma believes that on the international-size ice, speed, especially through the middle of the ice, will be the key to his team accomplishing its golden goal.

"We have to be aware that we can still play a fast game and we can still play an aggressive game," Bylsma said. "We have maybe thought it was going to be a more patient game [on the international-size ice] and looked to play it more patiently when we can go quicker."

The players trust the system and have enjoyed pushing the pace.

"If we come with speed and we do our systems, there's going to be holes," center Ryan Kesler said. "I like getting speed coming through the neutral zone. With this team I think that's when we're at our best."

Jonathan Quick has been named the starter in goal after winning both his starts in group play.

What's next: The winner will face Canada or Latvia in the semifinals Friday.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

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