Nashville forward Simon Moser scored perhaps the biggest goal of his life on Wednesday, as his marker with eight seconds remaining gave Switzerland a crucial 1-0 win over Latvia in Group C play.
The Swiss, stymied all game long by veteran Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis, earned three points in the most unlikely of fashions. Moser was behind the goal line when he scored, as his centering aerial pass to Nino Niederreiter deflected in off Latvian defender Georgijs Pujacs.
Up until that point, Masalskis was unbeatable.
The 33-year-old, who plies his trade in the Slovak Extraliga, stopped the first 38 shots he faced — five of which came from New Jersey forward Damien Brunner, who led all Swiss players in that category. For most of the game, it looked as though Masalskis’ heroics would push Latvia through to an upset performance — the country lost all three games at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, getting outscored 19-4 — until Moser came through with some heroics of his own.
Though there were some decent offensive forays, the game was largely about the two netminders. Jonas Hiller was rock solid in the Swiss net, stopping all 21 shots for the first shutout of the tournament.
Apparently Blue Jackets management is a little shaken by the second 0-3-0 start in franchise history, however.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen shared his shock and dismay with the Columbus Post-Dispatch on Tuesday.
“I’m surprised how, in just five days, we’ve gone from a very confident group to something that’s the opposite of that,” Kekalainen told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Our confidence, our game … it’s off the rails right now.
Maybe losing to the Buffalo Sabres stings a little bit extra?
Kekalainen said “there’s no excuse for how we played in Buffalo,” pointing out that every team in the NHL is a “good team.”
Indeed, just about every squad boasts some dangerous weapons if they catch an opponent sleeping.
The Post-Dispatch goes deeper on Columbus’ recent history of stumbling out of the gate, but consider the foreboding stretch coming up.
Next four games: Three out of four at home Eight games following that: Seven out of eight on the road.
As you can see, winter is coming for Columbus, so they best get things together. All things considered, this is the right time for a wake-up call.
For bonus chuckles, here’s a photo of Kekalainen on a railing.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
With Ovechkin out, Caps lines look like this: