While Slovakia certainly made things interesting, the Czech Republic beat them today vaulting the Czechs into the Quarterfinals and a date with Team USA on Wednesday. Czech goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has seen plenty of the Blues playing for the Winnipeg Jets this NHL season already, with limited success against US Olympians, David Backes, T.J. Oshie, and Kevin Shattenkirk.
I don’t usually give much weight to skater-versus-goaltender stats when evaluating NHL games, as there’s always so much more than individual performances at play. Just because a particular guy seems to score on a certain goalie really doesn’t mean he’s going to do so each time. Games are different, shifts are varied and there are four other guys skating with a guy trying to make plays.
While the Olympic tournament is similar in those details, there’s a difference in knowing you’re going to face a team a specific number of times over the course of a season, and the randomness presented by the brackets in Sochi. A lot of pieces had to fall into place for Team USA to face the Czech team in tomorrow’s Quarterfinal round, and I find it interesting to note how the Americans from St. Louis have fared against Pavelec this year.