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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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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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ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
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7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
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2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
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T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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