The Czech Republic staved of the end of what would have been an extremely disappointing Olympics by downing arch-rival Slovakia 5-3 in the qualification round, setting up a quarterfinal match with the US.
USA vs Czech Republic
12:00 NOON EST
Here is how the teams match up:
Goaltending: Jonathan Quick has the ball for the remainder of the tournament for the Americans, and has been very good in this tournament so far. For the Czechs, Ondrej Pavelec has been decent but not outstanding since assuming the net following their first game of the tournament.
Defense: Marek Zidlicky, Tomas Kaberle and Ladislav Smid all played over 20 minutes against Slovakia, with Kaberle picking up 2 assists. Every US defenseman is at least +1, led by Cam Fowler‘s +4 rating.
Forwards: Phil Kessel still leads the tournament in scoring with 4 goals and 3 assists. He leads a dynamic American offense that is very strong along the wings and should be deep enough at centre to compete with the Czechs. Roman Cervenka was the hero with 2 goals against Slovakia, but David Krejci, Ales Hemsky and Tomas Plekanec all broke out of slumps with goals in that game.
PREDICTION: With 3 days rest, you can bet the US will be ready to go from the drop of the puck. They will be swarming and the question is how much the Czechs will have left in the tank coming off an elimination game less than 24 hours earlier.