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Slovakia does its part, rips Latvia

Game 14, Group B: Slovakia 6, Latvia 0

Saturday, 02.20.2010 / 11:55 PM ET / News
By Bob Condor
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Slovakia does its part, rips Latvia
VANCOUVER -- Slovakia did its part Saturday night to make Rivalry Sunday relevant for its hockey team, dissecting Latvia 6-0. 
 
Slovakia, sort of the seventh team on the outside looking in at the so-called Big Six of this Olympic tournament, will now actually root for its own archrival, the Czech Republic, to beat Russia. Such a victory would earn second place for the Slovaks and, presumably, land them an easier qualifying game on Tuesday. Russia and the Czechs play the early game Sunday (3 p.m. ET, NBC, TSN), so at least Slovakia won’t have to wait on the result.
 
"It's good for us to fly under the radar," Slovakia and Chicago Blackhawks star Marian Hossa told NHL.com in a one-on-one interview after the game. "Tonight we made it look easy. Latvia is a good team, but they played last night. Our plan was get a jump on them early."
 
Good plan. Lubomir Visnovsky, Richard Zednik and Jozef Stumpel clipped off first-period goals as the Slovaks outshot the Latvians 13 to 5. Latvia goalie Edgars Masalskis didn’t stand a chance on any of the three goals.
 
Hossa was impressed with former NHLer Zednik and his checking linemates, Michal Handzus of the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and Lubos Bartecko, who plays for Farjestad Karlstad of the Swedish Elite League.
 
"They are playing with a lot of energy," Hossa said. "They shut Russia's No. 1 line and tonight they scored too."
 
For his part, Hossa appreciates his time on a line with brother Marcel, who plays professionally for Dinamo Riga, a Latvia-based club in the KHL.
 
"I am enjoying every minute of it," Hossa said. "We don't get too many opportunities to play together."
 
The Hossa brothers do make a phone appointment without fail once a week, and right now the togetherness of the entire Slovak team makes it dangerous for any Olympic foe.
 
"We have some older players on this team," Hossa said. "I think that is good for this team and this Olympics."
 
Make no mistake about Saturday’s win. It was surgical, as the Slovaks came out flying with hard, accurate shots. Both Zednik and Stumpel rocketed roof shots just inside the crossbar to beat Masalskis.
 
The precision shooting and scoring continued in the second period. Hossa scored the fourth Slovakia goal on a power play, finishing a perfect pass from Stumpel. Handzus, who came into the Winter Games on one of the NHL’s hottest scoring streaks, notched the fifth goal unassisted.
 
Defenseman Ivan Baranka was credited with the sixth goal late in the game, and goalie Jaroslav Halak looked sharp. Halak has benefited from starting eight of the last nine games for his Montreal Canadiens club, effectively reversing roles with former No. 1 goalie Carey Price. That regular work appears to have sharpened Halak’s game, and it might be no small thing in the medal round.
 
Say this: There’s not a team in the Big Six that wants to see this team in Tuesday’s qualifying round or the quarterfinals.


GAME SUMMARY

SCORING
LAT 0 0 0 - 0
SVK 3 2 1 - 6

First Period Scoring: 1. SVK, Visnovsky (Stumpel, Zednik) 2:44 (PPG); 2. SVK, Zednik (Handzus, Bartecko) 9:11; 3. SVK, Stumpel (Palffy) 17:08.

First Period Penalties: M. Redlihs LAT (high sticking) 2:10, K. Redlihs LAT (hooking) 20:00.

Second Period Scoring: 4. SVK, Marian Hossa (Stumpel) 1:07 (PPG); 5. SVK, Handzus (Unassisted) 2:20.
 
Second Period Penalties: Ankipans LAT (tripping) 6:28, Palffy (hooking) SVK 15:02, Demitra (holding) 19:19. 

Third Period Scoring: 6. SVK, Baranka (Handzus, Strbak) 17:20.

Third Period Penalties:
Palffy SVK (hooking) 8:06, Palffy SVK (interference) 11:23.

SHOTS ON GOAL
LAT  5  10  6 - 21
SVK  13 15  9 - 37

Goaltenders (goals-shots against): LAT: Masalskis (L, 5-37); SVK: Halak (W, 0-21).

Power plays
(goals-chances): LAT: 0-4; SVK: 2-3.


SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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