The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/17/12 at 10:33 AM ET
Updated 5x with highlights at 3:02 PM: Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey and Team Canada tempted fate on Thursday morning and found out the hard way that single-game elimination hockey is a cruel mistress, dropping a 4-3 decision to Slovakia in the Quarterfinals, ending Canada’s World Championship run.
Canada surrendered a 2-0 lead to Slovakia, awoke groggy and rallied to score three straight goals, and nursed a 3-2 lead for thirteen minutes of the third period…
And then Tomas Tatar, who had an astonishingly wonderful game, came roaring up the right wing, and as Quincey engaged him, and the otherwise invisible (in a good way) Quincey took the open man and left the shooter to his goaltender, Milan Bartovic got off a wonky shot and chipped the rebound past a shaky Cam Ward, tying the game 3-3 with 4:35 left in the 3rd.
Late in the third period, Ryan Getzlaf kneed Juraj Mikus and was assessed a 5-minute major for kneeing—a penalty that would have been a 2-minute minor at the NHL level—yielding a 5-on-3 for Slovakia as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was already in the box, and immediately, Slovakia won the faceoff at the right dot, Andrej Sekera blasted a point shot on net and Michal Handzus, obstructing Ward’s view, tipped the puck home with 2:28 left in the 3rd.
Despite a late flourish, the Canadians couldn’t tie a game they never dominated for more than a few shifts at a time, and while the Slovaks likely lost Mikus for the tourney as he was shown crawling toward the locker room…
Slovakia’s registered the tournament’s first upset, defeating Canada and advancing to play the winner of today’s Sweden-Czech Republic game on Saturday.
Individually speaking: Quincey was quiet but solid, finishing with 2 shots and an even plus-minus rating in 12:02 played, partnered with Luke Schenn;
And Tatar was awesome, crashing, banging, dekeing and dangling, registering an assist, 3 shots, a +1 and 14:07 in ice time, playing on the Slovaks’ third line with Mikus and Michel Miklik.
In terms of games yet to come, Russia will tangle with Norway at 8:45 AM EDT on the NBC Sports Network and TSN, and IIHF.com’s Lukas Aykroyd penned a game preview (it doesn’t seem fair that the Russians can just go ahead and add Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin for the Quarterfinals, now does it?);
• Jimmy Howard and Team USA will tangle with Valtteri Filppula and Finland at 11:30 AM EDT (on the NBC Sports Network and TSN), and Howard fared pretty prominently in IIHF.com’s Risto Parkarinen’s game preview:
[Team USA coach Scott] Gordon seems to have collected a group of players that have come together as a team, who play for each other, while still having a lot of top-end talent on all positions, starting from goaltender Jimmy Howard.
“We have a young and fast team. We have a great group of guys in the dressing room, everybody gets along with each other, we gelled fast and I think that’s helped,” says Howard who’s posted a 91.19 save percentage in the six games he’s played here. He’s also faced more shots that any other goalie in the quarter-finals.
“It’s just a matter of getting together before we got here, we spent a couple of days together in Sweden [playing exhibition games], there wasn’t much else [to do] around, so we got to know each other pretty well,” he adds.
In the preliminary game between the two teams, Team USA steamrolled over Finland, 5-0, but everybody agrees on one thing: that game doesn’t matter one bit tonight. Finland may even thrive being the underdog, playing in front of its home crowd. A wild card in the game is goaltender Petri Vehanen who played only 7:36 in the game against the U.S., taking over when Kari Lehtonen got injured. Vehanen posted the best save percentage in 2011, and has the best save percentage, 96.83, in the games he’s played (against Slovakia, France, and Kazakhstan).
“We’re going to play a completely different team. I’m sure they’ve watched [Sunday’s] game again and they know what to do to make it a tighter game. The building’s going to be loud, it’s going to be emotional,” says Ryan.
“I’m not expecting it to be like the first game. It’s going to be a dog fight. We know their style from playing against them and watching video, so we know their tendencies, but it’s going to be one of those games when it comes down to who wants it more,” adds Howard.
• And at 2:15 PM EDT, the Czech Republic (Petr Mrazek won’t dress) will face off against Sweden (Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Jonathan Ericsson—who will play, Niklas Kronwall and Calle Jarnkrok).
I’ll post the Canadian Press and Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones’ recaps from the Slovakia-Canada game and TSN’s highlights as they become available.
Update: TSN has already posted an 8:41 highlight clip.
Goaltender Cam Ward stopped Tomas Tatar on a spirited rush early in the third period before Bartovic tied it 3-3 at 13:25, following up on his shot and knocking home the rebound. Shortly after, the Slovaks rang a shot off the crossbar and eventually found the winner after Getzlaf’s penalty.
Update #3: Hokej.sk posted a photo gallery from the game.
Update #4: Here’s a shorter highlight clip from TSN.
Update #5: Here is NBC Sports’ highlight clip:
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.