Russia defeats Czech Republic 4-2 (Photo © REUTERS/ Scott Audette)
In the round robin’s last game Team Russia defeated Team Czech Republic 4-2 and got a bye to the quarterfinals as they finished the Group B on the top of the standings with seven points against Czech Republic’s six, Slovakia’s five and Latvia’s zero. Team Russia’s first game of the medal round is scheduled for wednesday.
During the first period of the game the teams are still 0-0. Alexander Ovechkin had a couple of good chances, but Tomas Vokoun saved both attempts. Later on the Russians wasted a powerplay opportunity.
At the fifteenth minute Evgeni Malkin scored the 1-0 goal for Russia tapping in a rebound after a shot from the point by Sergei Gonchar.
At the end of the first period the Czechs tied it up with Tomas Plekanec taking full advantage of a double powerplay.
At the start of the second period Alexander Semin had a great chance during a delayed penalty against the Czechs, but his backhander went wide of the crease despite the open net. In the consequent powerplay Team Russia pressured well the opponents, but without creating havoc.
Five minutes to the second horn Viktor Kozlov broke the tie, scored the 2-1 goal for Russia after a scramble in the high slot.
Later at the end of the second period Sergei Zinoviev suffered from a knee injury after a play on the board caused by Alexander Radulov and had to be helped out of the ice.
Right on the start of the third period team Russia scored the third goal: after a big hit by Ovechkin on Jagr, Alexander Semin run down the left and with a great pass served Malkin right in front of the goalie. One-timer and 3-1.
But the Czech Republic didn’t give up and scored the 3-2 goal with Milan Michalek five minutes to the end of the regulation. The Czechs eventually pulled the goalie, but Pavel Datsyuk scored the emtpy netter with thirteen seconds to go.
“We were hungry for the win after the defeat against Slovakia”, Malkin told Russian TV channel Russia-2 after the game. “All the four lines played very well and I think we got a well deserved win. I like this new line I’m playing in, we are three quick players and we played very well today. We played very actively. Ovechkin played a great game, we really wanted to win. We still make some errors in the defensive zone, we will work on them in the next practices.”
Evgeny Nabokov finished the match with 23 saves.