David Krejci netted the first goal by a Bruin in these Olympics and later added an assist to help lead the Czech Republic to a wild 5-3 qualification round win over Zdeno Chara and Slovakia. The Czechs will take on the United States in the quarterfinals Wednesday at noon ET.
The Czechs led 4-0 with under two minutes to go in the second period, but a late goal from Marian Hossa cut it to 4-1 heading into the third. The Slovaks then scored twice more in the first nine minutes of the third period, making it a one-goal game with 11 minutes to go. They kept the pressure on the Czechs and came close to tying the game several times, but then Krejci set up Tomas Plekanec for an empty-netter with 38 seconds to go to seal the win.
With the Czechs already leading 2-0 in the first, Krejci struck on the power play with 2:57 left in the period. He set up in the left circle, where he took a pass from former Bruins teammate Tomas Kaberle and ripped a rocket of a one-timer over Jan Laco‘s right shoulder. Krejci and the Czechs enter Wednesday’s game against U.S. with a 2-2 record — they beat Latvia 4-2 in group play, but lost to Sweden (4-2) and Switzerland (1-0).
For Chara and Slovakia, the loss marks the end of an extremely disappointing tournament. The Slovaks failed to win a single game, as they got blown out by the U.S. and upset by Slovenia before taking Russia to a shootout in group play.
Chara was on the ice for three of the Czech Republic’s four goals Tuesday, and he also took a tripping penalty in the second period. The first goal came on a power play when Chara and two of his teammates couldn’t clear out the front of the net, allowing Ales Hemsky to eventually bury one from in close. Chara was also on the ice for Krejci’s goal, although there wasn’t anything he could’ve done about it.
The third came when Andrej Sekera misplayed a Chara pass at the offensive blue line, leading to a breakaway goal at the other end. Chara did help the Czechs cut the lead to 4-2, though, as his drive to the net opened up space for Hossa to score his second goal of the game. Chara finishes the Olympics with one assist, two penalties and a minus-1 rating.
In other qualification round action, Slovenia beat Austria 4-0, Russia beat Norway 4-0, and Latvia beat Switzerland 3-1. That sets up the following quarterfinal matchups for Wednesday:
Sweden vs. Slovenia (3 a.m. ET)
Finland vs. Russia (7:30 a.m. ET)
USA vs. Czech Republic (12 p.m. ET)
Canada vs. Latvia (12 p.m. ET)