BostonBruins.com - It was a third period any hockey fan would appreciate. The tension was high, the back-and-forth action at a premium, and both sides fought until the end.
Captain Chara and Slovakia fought back from a 4-0 deficit, and kept building steam in the third period, but it was Krejci and the Czech Republic ultimately moving on to the quarterfinals with a 5-3 victory.
For Krejci, who notched his first goal of the tournament and an assist on the empty-netter that sealed it, the win was showcased in his postgame smile.
For Chara, who played a monster of a game with his team on the brink of elimination, the cause fell short, and represented a difficult week on the ice for his native country.
The Czech Republic finished the preliminary round with one win and two losses. Meanwhile, Slovakia lost all three of their first round games, though they picked up a hard-fought point in the shootout in their final game against Russia.
Heading into the qualification playoff round on Tuesday (February 18) in Sochi, Russia, the two Bruins find themselves facing each other in a situation where the preliminary round no longer matters.
The puck drops at 12:00 p.m. ET, live on NBCSN (9:00 p.m. local time in Sochi).
When the final buzzer sounds, one Bruin and his country will move on, while the journey to a medal will end for the other and his fellow countrymen. The winner will next face the United States in quarterfinal action.
But this is the Olympics, and matchups are bound to happen.
So on Sunday, two Black & Gold mainstays found themselves squaring off as the puck dropped between Canada and Finland in the final game of preliminary round play in Sochi, Russia at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Team Canada, along with Bergeron, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien and GM Peter Chiarelli, came away with the 2-1 win in overtime, defeating Rask and Team Finland.
While individuals aren't necessarily the focus at the Games, with entire nations following along with their teams' play, it's still worth noting the efforts of those who typically don the Spoked-B.
Rask made 25 saves on 27 shots in the OT loss. The netminder no doubt would have liked to come out of this one the hero, as he made several key (and some incredible) stops throughout the game to keep Canada off the board, but Finland still advances directly to the quarterfinals.
BostonBruins.com – After 18 games in five days at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, preliminary round play has concluded, with the playoffs starting on Tuesday, February 18.
After the round-robin play, Loui Eriksson and Team Sweden earned the top spot heading into the playoff rounds, with USA close behind, Canada in third place and Finland in fourth.
Those top four teams automatically get a bye to the quarterfinals, which kick off on Wednesday, February 19.
Team USA and Canada both finished with eight points right below Sweden’s nine, but goal differential is the next tie-breaker. The U.S. finished the preliminary round with a plus-11 goal differential, while Canada finished with plus-9. Finland came in at seven points, with a plus-eight goal differential.
BostonBruins.com - According to the NHL.com staff in Sochi, Russia, Tuukka Rask will start for Finland against Canada and Bruins' teammate Patrice Bergeron today (Sunday), as announced by Finnish Head Coach Erkka Westerlund.
Puck drops at noon ET (USA Network) between the Group B opponents at the Olympics.
Rask started Finland's opening game on Thursday, in which they earned an 8-4 win over Austria. He got the night off the following day, as Kari Lehtonen backstopped his squad to a 6-1 victory over Norway. Antti Niemi will be his backup on Sunday against Canada.
BostonBruins.com – With Sweden leading 4-3 over a Latvian team that has consistently been putting up a fight in Sochi, Loui Eriksson was wide open at the goal mouth.
The winger fired a one-timer, point-blank, off a feed from Daniel Sedin through the crease, for his best chance yet. But Latvian goalie Kristers Gudlevskis made it across, robbing him of his first goal of the tournament.
Sweden would go on to win 5-3 over Latvia, and though it wasn’t a dominating performance, it kept them undefeated.
Eriksson and his squad finished the preliminary round 3-0 at the top of Group C with nine points, above Switzerland (6), the Czech Republic (3) and Latvia (0). The win gave them a bye to the quarterfinals, which take place on Wednesday, February 19.
In the win, Eriksson fired three shots on goal, logging 18:20 in ice time, serving yet again as one of the most utilized forwards in all situations, along with Daniel Sedin and Daniel Alfredsson. He logged the most ice-time of all forwards in the first period (7:13).
BostonBruins.com - All of the Bruins' Olympic squads who played on Friday in Sochi took home victories, with Loui Eriksson helping Sweden to a 1-0 win over Switzerland.
The victory kept Team Sweden undefeated after they kicked off the Olympics with a 4-2 win against the Czech Republic.
Eriksson finished the game with 21:10 in ice time, second most among forwards, upped from the 18:37 he played in the opener. He remained on the right wing alongside center Nicklas Backstrom and Daniel Sedin.
Once again, he led all Sweden skaters with the most ice-time in the third period (8:02). Like on the Bruins, Eriksson is utilized in all situations, manning the net-front spot on the power play and serving as a go-to penalty killer.
BostonBruins.com - Throughout the 2014 Winter Olympics, Tuukka Rask has been checking in amidst his busy schedule with Team Finland.
The netminder recently made his Olympic debut on Thursday, February 13, in Finland's 8-4 win over Austria (in which 'Cool Hand Tuukk' said he "wasn't nervous at all). Despite the offensive performance, Rask and Finland were looking for much better play defensively. They got that in a 6-1 win over Norway, though he had the night off before starting between the pipes against Canada in their final preliminary round game.
Off the ice, Tuukka has shared his experience through photos...
BostonBruins.com - Team Canada earned their second straight win at the Olympics on Friday in Sochi, with a 6-0 shutout of Austria.
Patrice Bergeron may not have put up two assists like he did in their opening 3-1 win over Norway, but the Bruins' alternate captain continued to show his versatility and trustworthy play at both ends.
He remained at right wing on a line with center John Tavares and Jamie Benn. Like in the opener, they continued to create chances nearly every time they hit the ice.
With the trio utilized in a third line capacity, as opposed to the fourth line like in the first game, Bergeron saw his minutes jump up from 10:59 to 13:14. He fired two shots on goal, and went 71-percent on the faceoff dot, winning five of seven draws, which predominantly came on the penalty kill.
BostonBruins.com - By the time the East Coast was waking up on Friday, David Krejci had already helped the Czech Republic to their first win of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
The Bruins' alternate captain got the Czechs started, assisting on their initial goal in the eventual 4-2 win over Latvia.
At 10:10 into the first period, Krejci cut into the zone and crisscrossed with Martin Erat just inside the offensive blueline, backhanding a quick drop pass to him, which he got through Latvia's defense from the high slot.
Krejci finished with 15:18 in ice time off of 19 shifts, and went 71-percent on the faceoff dot, winning five of seven draws.