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United States' Quest for Gold Continues vs. Czechs

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 3:16 PM PT / News
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United States\' Quest for Gold Continues vs. Czechs
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 - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

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