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Chara, Slovakia Bounce Back

Team Slovakia engineered a shootout victory over the Russians.

Friday, 02.19.2010 / 11:20 AM ET / Vancouver 2010
By Samantha Wood  - BostonBruins.com
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Chara, Slovakia Bounce Back
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Bostonbruins.com – Going up against the best Russia has to offer on the ice is no easy feat. And winning? Well, that’s another animal entirely. But that’s exactly what captain Zdeno Chara did with his Slovakian team last night, proving that, in the Olympics, anything can happen.

“It’s something I always said, even before the Olympics—anybody can beat anybody,” Chara said. “Things are really improving, the countries are. They all can skate, they all can play hockey.”

Especially after their tough loss to David Krejci’s Czech Republic team only the night before, Slovakia’s win has reenergized their team. The victory was not handed to them, however. It was a hard-fought battle that ended in a shootout, with Slovakia ultimately on top.

Russia scored first with a goal by Alexei Morozov in the second period. Slovakia tied it at 1-1 in the third period thanks to Marian Hossa. Then the goaltenders, Russia’s Ilya Bryzgalov and Slovakia’s Jaroslav Halak, squared off in seven shootout rounds, with Pavol Demitra scoring the deciding goal for Slovakia.

“It came down to the shootout and our goalie was extreme,” Chara said. “He was unbelievable, I think stopping [Alex] Ovechkin three times, and [Ilya] Kovalchuk, [Evgeni] Malkin, [Pavel] Datsyuk.

“Those guys usually don’t miss and he came up big.”

With two games back-to-back, and only a few days to find their footing as a team, the Slovakians initially struggled with their strategy.

“We don’t have the best structure in our team,” Chara said. “It’s those first two days there’s millions of meetings, and we try to get a system in place.

“We had too many men twice on the ice tonight—Those things kind of do happen, but we try to minimize those mistakes and try to do things right.”

Following a much-needed day off tomorrow, Chara’s Slovakian squad will round out their Olympics with a game against Latvia, a team which Chara is careful not to underestimate.

“We want it, but for sure it’s going to be a tough game,” he said. “They skate well and we can’t take anybody lightly.

“We are in a position of underdog so we shouldn’t take anybody lightly just because we beat Russia.”

Despite his diplomatic attitude and hesitant optimism, Chara did admit that winning, and especially winning at the Olympics, felt good.

“With the Olympics, it’s a special tournament, it’s one of the best tournaments that you can experience as an athlete,” he said. “Every time you win, it’s a great feeling.”

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STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
2 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
3 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
4 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
5 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
6 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
7 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
8 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 80 32 36 12 68
L. Eriksson 82 30 33 13 63
D. Krejci 72 17 46 4 63
B. Marchand 77 37 24 21 61
R. Spooner 80 13 36 -9 49
T. Krug 81 4 40 9 44
M. Beleskey 80 15 22 6 37
Z. Chara 80 9 28 12 37
J. Hayes 75 13 16 -12 29
D. Pastrnak 51 15 11 3 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 31 22 8 .915 2.56
J. Gustavsson 11 9 1 .908 2.72
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