VANCOUVER -- Marian Gaborik
cracked a big smile because now he has some bragging rights over Henrik Lundqvist
, his teammate back home in New York.
Gaborik got Slovakia going Wednesday night by scoring the first goal of the game and then he chipped in everywhere else to help his national team earn its biggest win ever.
The Slovaks took down Sweden, the defending gold medalists, in the nightcap at Canada Hockey Place behind a strong effort in net by Jaroslav Halak
(26 saves), a three-point game from veteran Pavol Demitra
, and a winning goal off of Tomas Kopecky
When it was over, Gaborik met the media to discuss the game and how in the world Slovakia is going to slay their next superpower opponent, Canada.
Was this the perfect game you had to play in order to beat Sweden?
It's a very important game and we did everything we were talking about before the game. There was a system, being disciplined, being on the puck and wining the battles. We did all of that and Halak was great in net and, you know, I'm proud of these guys.
Now you have the big challenge, but with one game, are you thinking you never know what can happen?
Yeah. I mean, now we have to have a good rest. We have to enjoy the emotions and get back at it in a couple of days.
Are you surprised, shocked at all?
Not really. The way we came out and the way we played all 60 minutes -- even though we had a two-goal lead and they tied it up very quick -- I'm not surprised. I'm very happy and this was an unbelievable game from everybody.
Can you touch on Demitra's game tonight? He had a goal and two assists in his own building.
He's been hurt all year, pretty much, so now I think he's playing his best hockey. Everybody contributed, but he was big for us. We are a very disciplined team defensively. I think it was a tight game overall. Halak was great in net and we got the edge on Lundqvist. It's a big game for us. Huge.
Contact Dan Rosen at: firstname.lastname@example.org.