The Olympic Men’s Hockey Tournament kicked off with a pair of games Wednesday with both games featuring current Flyers and several former Flyers or Flyers prospects.
The Highlight game saw Sweden defeat the Czech Republic 4-2 in the marquee matchup of Group C teams.
Jake Voracek was the current Flyer in this game and actually played pretty well. I was flipping back and forth between games (there should have been a staggered start time, no?) but spent most of my viewing time on this game and Voracek was noticeable.
He led the Czechs in shots with four and for some reason, played on the point on the second power play unit rather than the half wall, where he is accustomed for the Flyers. He likely would have had a greater impact playing in a more comfortable spot, and maybe even on the top unit where he would have played with former Flyer and current New Jersey Devil Jaromir Jagr.
Instead, Voracek was on the second line and second unit and only had 15:35 ice time to go along with his shots as positive stats.
Meanwhile, Jagr scored, registering his eighth career Olympic goal and had three shots in 18:05.
The Czechs had three other players linked to the Flyers play in the game.
Former defenseman Lukas Krajicek played 14:09 and didn’t register a shot. Former forward Petr Nedved played just 10:09, had one shot and took two minor penalties.
And former goaltending prospect Jakub Kovar was a surprise starter for the Czech Republic instead of Winnipeg goalie Ondrej Pavelec. Kovar was lifted after allowing three goals on 10 shots 51 seconds into the second period.
The Swedes were awesome early building a 4-0 lead before taking their foot off the gas in the second period and letting the Czechs back in the game.
Nevertheless, Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson scored twice, Detroit forward Henrik Zetterberg and St. Louis forward Patrick Berglund both tallied, Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a pair of assists and New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to make the Swedes a favorite to secure one of the top four seeds, which earn a bye into the quarterfinals.
In the other game, Switzerland escaped an upset with a goal in the final seconds of regulation to defeat plucky Latvia 1-0.
Flyers defenseman Mark Streit had the lone assist on the game-winning goal, a flukey tally credited to Nashville prospect Simon Moser who banked it off bodies in front of the net from behind the goal line with eight seconds remaining.
It prevented the first 0-0 tie through regulation in the Olympics since 1948.
Streit, who is the alternate captain for Switzerland, played 22:58 and didn’t register a shot on goal.
Former Flyers prospect Kevin Romy also plays for Switzerland. He played 17:39 and registered one shot on goal.
For Latvia, Former Flyer Oskars Bartulis serves as alternate captain. He played 22:54 and didn’t register a shot.
The Latvians played a solid game, coached by Buffalo Sabres coach Ted Nolan. With just one current NHL player (Buffalo’s Zemgus Girgensons), they gave Switzerland all they could handle. Little-known goalie Edgars Masalskis played brilliantly in goal for Latvia with 38 saves.
Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller needed just 21 saves to record the shutout for the Swiss, who will match up with Sweden for what likely will determine the winner of Group C on Friday while Latvia meets the Czech Republic.
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