On paper, it’s a huge mismatch. And the Austrian men’s hockey team knows it.
Austria, ranked 15th in the world in the men’s IIHF ranking, meets the No. 5-ranked Canada, the defending gold medal champions with a lineup full of the game’s greatest stars, in preliminary Group B action on Friday. Needless to say, the Canadian contingent goes into this one as the heavy favorites and the Austrians are aware the chances of pulling off a monumental upset victory are slim. Very slim.
“If you’re realistic, Austria should never have a chance against Canada,” Austrian forward Michael Raffl told The Canadian Press. “You can’t go in there like that. You want to win. But you know your chances.”
Austria opened the tournament with a wild 8-4 loss to Finland on Thursday. That defeat prompted a stern critique of Austria’s goaltender, Bernhard Starkbaum, from Austrian forward Thomas Vanek.
“We started great and then gave up easy goals. We gave up too many shots from the middle and our goalie couldn’t control them,” Vanek said. “He added, “For us to beat a team like Finland, (Starkbaum) needs to be our best player.
Canada got off to a nervous looking start against Norway, but eventually settled down and overtook the game, winning by a final score of 3-1.
Roberto Luongo will get the start in goal for Canada against Austria, while Mike Smith will be on the bench as the back up.
It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.
Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.
(You can see that goal in the video above.)
Again, there were three fast goals overall, with Boston getting two of them. Here’s the Red Wings goal, which narrowly survived a review:
Things didn’t really slow down that much after that, as Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 for the Bruins.
Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.
When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.
Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.
It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.
This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.
That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.
Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP
So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.
The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.
The Boston Bruins (without Patrice Bergeron) take on the Detroit Red Wings (missing Jonathan Ericsson) on Sunday afternoon.
It’s a matchup between the second-ranked and third-ranked teams in the Atlantic Division, with little separating the two in the standings.
You can watch the game on NBC and also stream it online via the link below.
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As cool as it was at the time for many, Patrice Bergeron‘s fight against Blake Wheeler is … honestly, a good reminder why players like Bergeron rarely drop the gloves.
Multiple outlets including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty report that Bergeron will miss Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings (which you can watch on NBC).
We don’t know a ton about the injury aside from the fact that the multiple Selke-winner is considered day-to-day.
People don’t seem overly concerned about this issue, but you have to wonder if Bergeron made a bad choice, especially considering his history of concussion issues.
You can watch the bout that may or may not have left him injured in the video above.