BostonBruins.com – To this point of the IIHF Men’s World Championship, the Czech Republic is the only team to have reached five wins, having captured all five of its contests during the preliminary round, for a tournament-high 14 points.
That success can be attributed in large part to Bruins forward David Pastrnak, who is one of just three NHLers playing for the Czech Republic. Tomas Plekanec (Montreal Canadiens) and Michal Jordan (Carolina Hurricanes) are the others.
Pastrnak is tied for the team lead in points, with six (one goal, five assists), along with Michael Birner and Roman Cervenka.
Over the Czech Republic’s last two games – a 3-1 win over Kazakhstan and a 7-0 win over Norway – Pastrnak has registered three assists. He had the helpers on the Czech’s first two tallies – both scored by Plekanec – Friday against Kazakhstan, and added an assist on Cervenka’s goal that opened the scoring in the rout of Norway on Thursday.
With many of the Czech Republic’s players lacking experience at the international level, Pastrnak was particularly pleased with the effort against Norway.
"We knew it wouldn't be easy - we've lost a couple of times to Norway in the past, so we're happy with this result," Pastrnak told the IIHF’s website.
"We played with more confidence once we got ahead but we're still young and still make mistakes. We have to learn, especially on the power play. We've had chances and not scored enough. We can be much better."
Fellow Bruins forward Frank Vatrano, who is suiting up for the United States, has also been performing well. The 22-year-old has four points (one goal, three assists) through five games, three of which have been victories for the U.S.
He assisted on Connor Murphy’s goal in a 4-0 win over France on Thursday, before registering eight shots on goal in a 5-1 victory over Hungary Friday.
Brad Marchand scored a goal each in his first two games for undefeated Canada (4-0), but has been held scoreless over the last two contests. He has a chance to get back on the scoresheet Saturday when Canada takes on Slovakia.
(Preliminary round; all times EST)
Saturday, May 14
Canada vs. Slovakia, 1:15 p.m.
Sunday, May 15
United States vs. Germany, 9:15 a.m. (NBCSN at 3 p.m.)
Czech Republic vs. Denmark, 9:15 a.m.
Monday, May 16
Canada vs. France, 9:15 a.m.
Tuesday, May 17
United States vs. Slovakia, 5:15 a.m. (NBCSN)
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland, 5:15 a.m.
Canada vs. Finland, 1:15 p.m.