The Chicago Blackhawks rallied on Friday to defeat rivals the L.A. Kings in the Western Conference Final in the Stanley Cup playoffs, forcing a deciding Game 7 in the Windy City. The winner of the match-up will face the New York Rangers in the final. A win by the defending champion Blackhawks would leave one Czech in contention for a Stanley Cup ring - defenseman Michal Rozsival, who already has a ring from last year.
Hopes of reaching this year’s Stanley Cup final were dashed for forward Tomáš Plekanec and his fellow Montreal Canadiens on Thursday as the Habs faced the New York Rangers in Game 6 of their series. Chasing Rangers’ goalie Lundquist in their prior match, the Canadiens were unable to score this time around. The Rangers won 1:0 at home and will face either Chicago or L.A. in the final. Should defending champions Chicago defeat the Los Angeles Kings, one Czech will remain in contention for a Stanley Cup ring: defenseman Michal Rozsíval, who won with the Blackhawks last year.
In ice hockey, Czech forward Tomáš Plekanec has helped keep alive the Stanley Cup hopes of the Montreal Canadiens. Plekanec scored in the 7:4 victory over the New York Rangers bringing the series to 2:3 in the best of seven semi-final confrontation. The sixth match in the series takes place in New York on Thursday.
Legendary Czech forward Jaromír Jágr confirmed he was retiring from international hockey on Sunday shortly after the national team’s defeat by Sweden at the Ice Hockey World Championships. The Czech Republic finished outside the medals in the tournament, losing 3-0 in the bronze medal match. Jágr played for his country five times at the Winter Olympics, including the 2014 Sochi Games, and eight times at the World Championships. He won Olympic gold in 1998 and bronze in 2006 and gold at the Worlds in 2005 and 2010. The 42-year-old forward will continue to play in the NHL after resigning for one year with the New Jersey Devils.
The Czech national hockey team finished outside of the medals at the Ice Hockey World Championships on Sunday, losing to Sweden in the bronze medal match. Although the Czechs were active throughout, hitting the post twice and deflecting a shot which hit the opposing goaltender’s mask, they were not able to get on the scoreboard. For the second-straight game they lost 3:0. Sunday’s match may be Jaromír Jágr’s last for the national squad: the legendary player told TSN some time ago that the would not be back next year. In 2015, the worlds are being held in Prague and Ostrava.
The Czech Republic were beaten 3:0 by Finland in the semi-finals of the Ice Hockey World Championship in Belarus on Saturday evening. The Czechs conceded a single goal in the first and second periods before a strike from the Finns late in the game ended all hope of a Czech comeback. Vladimír Ružička's team will now face Sweden in a game to decide third place.
In the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens edged the New York Rangers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday, scoring in overtime. In OT, Czech forward Tomáš Plekanec picked up an assist on the winning play: Rangers goalie Henrik Lundquist couldn’t control the rebound off Plekanec's shot and the puck was struck into the net by Galchenyuk. The final score was 3-2 in Montreal’s favour. The Habs needed the win to get back in the series: they still trail the Rangers 2-1 in the best-of-seven.
As much as the Czech national hockey team would like to be firing on all cylinders at the World Championships in Minsk, the bottom line is that the squad has been less than convincing. On Tuesday, Jágr and co. faced France, the Cinderella story of the tournament, and only just came out ahead, edging the French 5-4 in overtime.
In Sports News this Monday: Czechs flounder at ice hockey Worlds with first ever loss to Denmark – Jágr calls for more teamwork; Sparta take the Czech cup after an 8:7 win over Plzeň in penalty shootout; Czechs preparing to face Finland in friendly; and Rosický wins FA Cup, his first trophy at Arsenal.
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