Taking a step back, Latvia did well to just hold its own against Switzerland in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss, but that’s a small consolation right now. They were within seconds of taking the Swiss to overtime when Nashville Predators prospect Simon Moser ended the scoreless tie.
“Brutal — that’s a tough one to swallow,” Buffalo Sabres and Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons said, according to the Olympic News Service.
Latvian goaltender Edgars Masalskis was willing to look on the bright side though after turning aside 38 of 39 shots. He felt this contest demonstrated that they were capable of competing against challenging opponents, but he added that he would like to see the team play “braver” going forward.
“It’s hockey, somebody wins and somebody loses. But it’s a great pity, eight seconds,” Masalskis said. “Today we have showed that we can play against a very strong opponent. We’ll continue to fight the very next game.”
While Latvia did generate some scoring opportunities, it’s also fair to say that Switzerland was pounding them throughout the game and Latvia had to rely heavily on Masalskis and some great defensive plays to stay in this one for as long as they did.
“Our whole line was clicking and we had a lot of shots on the net, but you have to give the goalie credit as he made some big saves,” Damien Brunner remarked. “We stayed positive on the bench, even when it was close at the end. We had the most great effort and took some hard strides to get some room in between their goalie and defencemen.”
The Swiss stuck with it though, until it finally paid off. This was a key win for them ahead of their tough matches against Sweden on Friday and the Czech Republic on Saturday.
Switzerland stuns Latvia with late game-winner
This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.
The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.
(Watch that goal in the video above.)
It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.
Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.
To start the seemingly pivotal stretch, Andrei Vasilevskiy made an outstanding save on Evgeni Malkin on what sure looked like a scary chance.
The play swiftly shifted from the Tampa Bay Lightning’s end to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ side of the ice, and it seemed like Jonathan Drouin scored a big 1-0 goal in Game 6.
As it turns out, the goal was disallowed thanks to an offside goal review.
Here are a few viewpoints on that moment in GIF form … you can get a fuller view via the video above.
The general feeling among those who don’t have a horse in the race is that it was the right call. (Lightning fans were, uh, not happy.)
At some point, it will probably be kind of boring to hear members of the Tampa Bay Lightning organization praise Jonathan Drouin.
At least if Drouin re-signs with the Bolts after quite the affirming postseason and his ascension amid injuries.
These days? It’s still sort of entertaining.
In the latest case, Jon Cooper was asked to compare the development paths for Nikita Kucherov vs. Drouin. After empathizing with the pressure Drouin carries as a high-end pick (vs. Kucherov’s ability to come in under the radar), Cooper had some very positive things to say about No. 27.
” … So many people think, well, you’re just going to step in the league at 18 and be dominant,” Cooper said. “I truly believe Jonathan is going to be dominant in this league, but it’s hard to do at 18. He had to work through it, and that’s it.”
Drouin, now at 21, has 12 points in 15 playoff games.
In other Lightning news, it sounds like the team will roll with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, an alignment that has been working well lately and also came through at times during the 2015 postseason.
The Penguins, meanwhile, replace Beau Bennett with Conor Sheary.
Tonight could be the final game of the Eastern Conference Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning. You can catch Game 6 via the NBC Sports Group’s television and digital platforms.
Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay (8:00 p.m. ET)
The television broadcast of Game 6 is on NBCSN. To stream the game using the NBC Sports Live Extra app, click here. The Bolts lead the series 3-2.
Here’s some relevant reading material to get you ready for tonight’s game:
—Malkin guaranteed a Penguins win in Game 6
—Lightning coach doesn’t seem flustered by Malkin’s guarantee
—Kucherov continues to be clutch for the Bolts this postseason
—Marc-Andre Fleury: ‘I should have been better’ in Game 5