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Vancouver 2010
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Chara, Slovakia Bounce Back

Team Slovakia engineered a shootout victory over the Russians.

Friday, 02.19.2010 / 11:20 AM / 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 MTL 61 40 16 5 167 135 85
2 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
3 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
4 BOS 61 30 22 9 161 160 69
5 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
6 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
7 TOR 61 25 31 5 170 185 55
8 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 60 17 25 2 42
L. Eriksson 60 14 21 2 35
D. Hamilton 61 10 24 -2 34
C. Soderberg 61 10 24 6 34
R. Smith 61 12 21 9 33
B. Marchand 56 17 15 6 32
M. Lucic 60 12 20 11 32
T. Krug 57 11 20 6 31
D. Krejci 38 7 19 7 26
C. Kelly 59 7 19 8 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 24 16 9 .919 2.37
N. Svedberg 6 5 0 .917 2.39
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