USA-Czech Republic Olympic Hockey Live: David Backes Powers U.S. To 5-2 Win


February 19, 2014

AmericaFinal, Team USA 5-2: That’s it, and that’s all. Team USA rolls to the 5-2 win, moving on to the semifinals.

The Americans will take on Canada, which held on for a 2-1 win over 11th-seeded Latvia.

Third period, 18:30, Team USA 5-2: David Backes almost added another point, but it wasn’t quite meant to be.

Backes made a great saucer-y pass to Blake Wheeler, but Wheeler couldn’t quite settle the puck on his backhand. Backes has been the Americans’ best player in this one.

Third period, 16:32, Team USA 5-2: Not a whole lot going on here in the final minutes of the Czech Republic’s tournament.

Across the way, Canada just took a 2-1 lead in a surprising struggle of a game against Latvia. You can follow the final minutes of that in our live blog by clicking here.

Third period, 13:00, Team USA 5-2: Ales Hemsky has had a nice game, and he just added to it.

The Edmonton Oilers forward just ripped a shot by Jonathan Quick to cut the American lead to three. That was a bullet.

Third period, 9:10, Team USA 5-1: A pretty lethargic Team USA power play just came to an end with no success for the Americans.

Phil Kessel tried to feed Cam Fowler as the two entered the zone, but Fowler’s eventual snap shot went just wide to the right of the net.

Third period, 6:47, Team USA 5-1: The Americans are going to get some power-play work here in the third.

Marek Zidlicky just picked up a slashing penalty for the Czechs.

Third period, 2:01, Team USA 5-1: And now America’s best line and top forward thus far have checked in.

Phil Kessel just sprinted down the ice into the Czech Republic end, and he was rewarded for it. Ryan Kesler put it right on Kessel’s stick, and Kessel jammed it home as he was stopping at the crease. Kessel, the tournament’s leading scorer, now has eight points.

Third period, 0:01, Team USA 4-1: The third period is underway.

End second period, Team USA 4-1: The second period has come to an end, and the Americans are leading by three after 40 minutes.

Second period, 18:15, Team USA 4-1: Both penalties have expired, and the two teams are back to even strength.

Second period, 16:01, Team USA 4-1: And that’s the end of the Czech Republic power play.

The Czechs’ man-advantage just came to an end after Jakub Voracek tripped T.J. Oshie and Voracek heads to the sin bin.

Second period, 15:32, Team USA 4-1: The U.S. has to kill off a penalty for the first time in this one.

Brooks Oprik is guilty of interference after dropping Jaromir Jagr in the American end. The U.S. PK is 8-for-9 in this tournament.

Second period, 15:00, Team USA 4-1: Alexander Salak has already done a better job than Ondrej Pavelec.

Salak just made a couple of big saves on David Backes. The U.S. forward deflected a shot on net and then tried to score again on the rebound, but Salak made the save.

Second period, 14:00, Team USA 4-1: The Joe Pavelski line just upped the pressure on the Czechs with a long shift in the Czech Republic end.

That followed a couple of good shifts from the Czechs, who are looking to do anything to get back into this game. They’ll look for Jaromir Jagr to help do that, but he’s been kept quiet so far. USA coach Dan Bylsma is matching up David Backes’ line with Jagr, and that’s worked really well so far, as Backes especially is doing a great job.

Second period, 9:39, Team USA 4-1: Zach Parise has had a quiet tournament, but he’s on the board now.

Joe Pavelski ripped a shot from the point that went wide. Once again, the Americans took advantage of the carom. Parise beat Marek Zidlicky to the loose puck and just hacked it at the net. That was a good idea, as it bounced off Pavelec and into the net.

That will end Ondrej Pavelec’s day. He’s been replaced by Alexander Salak in the Czech net.

Second period, 7:27, Team USA 3-1: The game’s first power play will go to Team USA.

Zbynek Michalek is being sent off for interference.

Second period, 5:00, Team USA 3-1: The Czechs are one of the oldest teams in the tournament, and they played yesterday. Both of those things might be catching up with them.

The Americans have spent much of the second period with the puck in the Czech Republic zone. It hasn’t produced a goal yet, but the cycle game is there, and it feels like it’s a matter of time before the Americans add another goal.

Second period, 0:01, Team USA 3-1: The second period is underway.

End first period, Team USA 3-1: The first period is over, with some pushing and shoving following the final faceoff.

That David Backes goal could end up being huge.

First period, 19:59, Team USA 2-1: That might be a back-breaker.

David Backes just scored with 1.8 seconds to play, scoring after Ryan Suter shot wide. The puck bounced right back to Backes, who was waiting in front. He scored, and the Americans will take the two-goal lead into intermission.

First period, 18:30, Team USA 2-1: The Americans came close to another splendid scoring chance.

Patrick Kane just missed hooking up with David Backes, missing Backes’ stick by a few inches on a pass that would have set him up for a chance right in front.

At the other end, Marek Zidlicky’s shot from the point was gloved by Jonathan Quick.

First period, 14:38, Team USA 2-1: David Backes is doing a great job so far in this one, especially against Jaromir Jagr.

Backes stole the puck from Jagr in the neutral zone and eventually got it back deep in the Czech zone. That’s when he made an incredible pass through the slot that found Dustin Brown. The Los Angeles Kings captain easily scored on a virtually empty net, as Ondrej Pavelec was still moving after the incredible pass from Backes.

First period, 12:43, 1-1: James van Riemsdyk just had a golden chance to score his second goal of the game.

JVR got loose after a defensive breakdown from the Czechs, and Phil Kessel found his teammate as they carried the puck into the zone. Ondrej Pavelec made a huge save on van Riemsdyk backhand attempt.

Cam Fowler also had a chance for the Americans when he ripped a shot from the right point that beat Pavelec, but like Petr Nedved’s shot earlier, the shot hit the post.

First period, 9:30, 1-1: The Czechs are not giving in whatsoever.

They’ve been all over the Americans for the last few minutes, and they just had a great scoring chance. Peter Nedved beat Jonathan Quick with a shot, but the puck ended up catching the crossbar, and the game remains tied.

First period, 4:31, 1-1: It’s a tie hockey game.

Ales Hemsky just made a tremendous play, as the Czechs were able to get an odd-man rush into the American zone. Hemsky spun and got the puck to the net, and as the Americans scrambled to try to get to the puck, it was pushed into the Team USA goal. It appeared to deflect off an American in front.

First period, 1:39, Team USA 1-0: Well, that didn’t take long.

James van Riemsdyk just scored to give the Americans a 1-0 lead. The Toronto Maple Leafs winger just beat Ondrej Pavelec with a shot from the goal line to the goalie’s left.

Pavelec has to make that save if the Czechs want any hope of winning this game.

First period, 0:01, 0-0: The game is underway.

Jonathan Quick is starting for the Americans in net, and the Winnipeg Jets’ Ondrej Pavelec goes for the Czech Republic.

11 a.m. ET: Team USA hockey has had an impressive showing at the 2014 Winter Olympics, but it will be in new territory Wednesday in Sochi. The Americans will face their first do-or-die situation of the tournament. Their Olympic life will be on the line when they take on the Czech Repbulic in quarterfinal play.

The U.S., which won all three of its games in preliminary round play, will take on a Czech team that had to win Tuesday just to get into the quarterfinals. The Czech Republic pulled away late to beat an inferior Slovakian team.

Now the Czechs, a veteran-laden bunch with plenty of NHLers, will have to pull off an upset against one of the deepest teams in the field. The Americans most likely will try to use their speed and depth to move on. Team USA’s group of forwards is one of the deepest in the tournament, and the overall team speed might not be matched by any other country left in the tournament. That will be key against a Czech team that features 12 players 30 or older. Two of those players, Jaromir Jagr and Petr Nedved, are older than 40, and with the Czechs playing their second game in as many days, that will be a difficult hill to climb for them.

Team USA will turn to Jonathan Quick in net after he won two games in the preliminary round. Max Pacioretty also will be reinserted into the lineup after being a scratch Sunday in a win over Slovenia.

Here are the rest of the projected lines and defensive pairings for Team USA.

Dustin Brown — David Backes — Ryan Callahan
Zach Parise — Ryan Kesler — Patrick Kane
James van Riemsdyk — Joe Pavelski — Phil Kessel
Max Pacioretty — Paul Stastny — T.J. Oshie
Blake Wheeler

Cam Fowler — Kevin Shattenkirk
Brooks Orpik — Paul Martin
Ryan Suter — Ryan McDonagh
John Carlson

The winner of Wednesday’s matchup will advance to the semifinals against the winner of Canada-Latvia. That game will be played at the same time as the U.S.-Czech Republic game. Puck drop from Sochi is slated for noon.

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