CBJ Olympic Notebook: Feb. 18

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 11:45 AM / News
By Rob Mixer  - BlueJackets.com


After a shootout loss to the U.S. and a shootout win over Slovakia last weekend, the road to a potential gold medal was not going to be easy for Russia.

The host nation rightfully had high expectations for its Olympic hockey team entering the Sochi Games and there's still a legitimate chance for gold, but the Russians have a few more hurdles to clear before it becomes a reality.

Step one was a qualification playoff game today against the pesky Norwegians, and it was no small task for Russia.

Norway, like many of the lesser-skilled teams in international competitions, relied on its tight-checking and trapping style to slow down Russia's attack in the first period. This game was - to the surprise of many - scoreless after 20 minutes, which generated some unrest both inside the Bolshoy Ice Dome and around the country.

2014 SOCHI CENTRAL ON BLUEJACKETS.COM

But the Russians finally broke through in the second period on a goal by Alexander Radulov, who was publicly chastised by head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov for a poor performance in the preliminary round game against the U.S.

It was the first of two goals (including an empty netter late in the third period) for Radulov, who has ridden quite the roller coaster during this Olympic tournament. Ilya Kovalchuk - remember him? - also scored during regulation for Russia to seal a 4-0 victory.

Sergei Bobrovsky got the call between the pipes for Russia and turned in another solid performance. A few days after being the tough-luck loser against Team USA, Bobrovsky kept a clean sheet and made 22 saves to record his first shutout of the Olympics.

Next up for Russia? A quarterfinal match-up against Finland tomorrow afternoon. It's important to remember that the Finns, as physical and competitive a national team as you'll find, gave Canada everything it could handle on Sunday in the final preliminary round game.

In the afternoon qualification games, the Latvians scored a significant upset over Switzerland, a team with strong aspirations following its 2010 Olympic run and a second-place finish in the 2013 World Championship. Latvia moves on to face Canada tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET, and in the other playoff, the Czechs nearly let a four-goal lead slip away.

This has been an up-and-down tournament for the Czechs, but today's win over Slovakia was a definite highlight. They built a 4-0 lead in the second period but went into cruise control a tad early, and three goals from the Slovaks (a rally started by Marian Hossa late in the second period) made this a white-knuckler down the stretch.

So the match-ups are set for Wednesday: Team USA plays the Czech Republic, Russia faces Finland, Sweden takes on Slovenia and Canada is paired up against Latvia. Should be a blast.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Johansen 82 33 30 3 63
J. Wisniewski 75 7 44 0 51
B. Dubinsky 76 16 34 5 50
C. Atkinson 79 21 19 -4 40
A. Anisimov 81 22 17 -2 39
N. Foligno 70 18 21 5 39
R. Umberger 74 18 16 -3 34
M. Letestu 82 12 22 1 34
J. Johnson 82 5 28 -7 33
B. Jenner 72 16 13 6 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Bobrovsky 32 20 5 .923 2.38
C. McElhinney 10 11 1 .909 2.70
 
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