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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 ANA 48 32 10 6 143 124 70
2 NSH 46 31 10 5 141 107 67
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 48 30 16 2 151 112 62
5 WPG 49 26 15 8 138 122 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 46 26 17 3 124 118 55
8 CGY 48 26 19 3 140 126 55
9 LAK 48 21 15 12 133 129 54
10 COL 49 20 18 11 128 141 51
11 DAL 47 21 19 7 146 154 49
12 MIN 47 21 20 6 130 138 48
13 ARI 47 16 25 6 108 160 38
14 EDM 48 12 27 9 110 160 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 47 15 35 13 50
C. Perry 33 19 12 16 31
R. Kesler 48 13 18 -1 31
S. Vatanen 48 10 20 5 30
M. Beleskey 47 18 7 13 25
C. Fowler 47 5 18 4 23
P. Maroon 40 5 18 2 23
H. Lindholm 47 5 15 14 20
J. Silfverberg 48 6 12 2 18
K. Palmieri 24 10 5 1 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 27 6 5 .919 2.24
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28

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