Czech Republic Vs. Russia: Malkin Scores Two, Russians Hold Off Czech Republic 4-2

In a rematch of the 1998 Gold Medal Game, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin and the Russians held off Jaromir Jagr and the Czechs by a score of 4-2.

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Russia Advances To Quarterfinals With 4-2 Victory

In a rematch of the 1998 gold medal game -- the first of three gold medal game rematches at Canada Hockey Place on this Sunday -- Russia was able to hold off a feisty Czech Republic team by a final score of 4-2.

Of course, back in Nagano in '98, many of the Russian stars who made the victory a reality today were merely young spectators. Evgeni Malkin was the hero today, scoring two goals and adding an assist. Super star Alex Ovechkin also fueled his team with two assists and several big hits, including one on Jaromir Jagr in the third period that directly led to Malkin's second goal.

This was the hockey game that the Olympics are made for. It was fast-paced, gritty, physical, offensive, defensive and most of all, it featured excellent goaltending by two of the games best, yet underrated netminders.

Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves in the loss, but without his stellar goaltending, the score could've been lopsided thanks to the unbelievably potent Russian attack.

Jagr, one of the stars who did play back on that 1998 gold medal winning Czech team, showed today (as he has all tournament) that he can still play at the highest level of hockey. He was a minus-2 on the day and he also took a penalty, but just watching him play who can tell that he still has command of all the tools that allowed him to become a Hall of Famer caliber NHL player.

The win gives Russia a bye past the qualification round and into the quarterfinals, while the Czechs will also see their way into the quarterfinals if the United States and Finland can win tonight. Otherwise it's off to the qualification round for them.


Milan Michalek Brings Czech Republic Within One Goal In Third Period: 3-2 Russia

Milan Michalek scores with 5:09 left in the third period to bring the Czech Republic to within one goal. Michalek put the puck in the open net after the Czechs stormed the net and Michalek grabbed the rebound from a Marek Zidlicky shot and put it past Nabokov.


Ovechkin Levels Jagr, Russia Pushes Lead To 3-1

Maybe Jaromir Jagr hasn’t dealt with the physical aspect of hockey much in the last two years. At the very least, he certainly didn't look like he was ready for a Russian freight train to come rolling through his station. Carrying the puck through the neutral zone, Jagr was absolutely decked by Alexander Ovechkin.

The hit had two immediate implications. Jagr lost the puck and the Russians picked it up and moved in the other direction. Then, Czech defenseman Roman Polak became preoccupied by Ovechkin, allowing the Russians to gain the offensive zone.

Evgeni Malkin was wide open at the net, where Alexander Semin found him with a pass. Malkin buried a shot past Czech goaltender Tomas Vokoun for his second of the game to give Russia a 3-1 lead just a few minutes into the third period.


NHL Offensive Powerhouses On Display

Just two goals were scored between the Czech Republic and Russia in the first period, but looking at the names involved and you’ll get a who’s who of NHL offensive threats.

Alex Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk assisted on Evgeni Malkin’s goal for Russia. In one play, you have three of the perrenial top-scoring forwards in the NHL all contributing. Those three combined have 203 points in the NHL this season, and that’s with Datsyuk having a down year, so far.

This was followed minutes later by a Tomas Plekanec goal, assisted by Patrick Elias and Tomas Kaberle. Not quite the impressive overall numbers by the Russian line, but it still goes to show the level of talent on display between the Czechs and Russians.


Czech Republic Vs. Russia: Jaromir Jagr Takes On Alex Ovechkin

3 PM ET/Noon PT - Czech Republic vs. Russia

Live Coverage on MSNBC and NBCOlympics.com starting at 3:00 PM ET/Noon PT 

The high flying Czech Republic have taken care of their first two games in Group B at this point and can complete the sweep of the group with a win over Russia. Tomas Vokoun has been the starting goaltender for both games for the Czech Republic and has been very solid with a .9434 SV% and 1.50 GAA while facing 53 shots. The Czech's have spread the scoring around with three players all tied at two goals a piece, Tomas Plekanec, Patrik Elias, and Jaromir Jagr. 

The Russians have found themselves in a bit of a hole after losing to Slovakia. They are currently third in Group B with four points looking up at Slovakia who beat Latvia on Saturday. Ilya Bryzgalov was the goaltender behind the loss to Slovakia and will being watching this game from the bench as Evgeni Nabokov will most likely take the net. The once thought high powered Russian offense has found the back of the net nine times, good for a tie for third in the tournament, but their goal differential of +5 might cause some issues when the final sorting comes through. 

Quarterfinal Implications: If the Czech Republic wins this game, they will automatically move on to the quarterfinals while Russia will end up being ranked sixth and have to face Germany in the qualification playoffs. If Russia wins, they will move onto the quarterfinals while the Czech Republic will end up in the quarterfinals as well with both United States and Finland winning and in the qualification playoffs with one of them losing.

More: SB Nation’s full coverage of the Winter Olympics and the 2010 Winter Olympics Medal Count Tracker.

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