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Jagr's status uncertain for Czech Republic when it faces winless Italy

NHL.com @NHL

Having already lost two key players to injury, the Czech Republic may be without NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr when it faces Italy in a crucial preliminary-round matchup Sunday.

One of several medal favorites, the Czechs beat Germany 4-1 to open the Olympics, but lost starting goaltender Dominik Hasek (leg) and left wing Patrik Elias (bruised ribs) for the rest of the games.

They have dropped their last two contests to fall to 1-2-0, fourth place in Group A. The top four teams in the group will advance to the medal round.

Jagr, a member of the Czechs' 1998 gold medal-winning team in Nagano, was helped off the ice in the second period of Saturday's 4-2 loss to Finland after being slammed into the boards by Jarkko Ruutu.

The collision knocked the 34-year-old Jagr down for several minutes before heading to the locker room.

Czech coach Alois Hadamczik said Jagr didn't suffer a concussion, but would not comment further on the star's condition.

"The shadow of this game is the foul on Jaromir Jagr," said an upset Hadamczik, adding "it will be up to (Jagr)" as to whether the right wing plays against Italy.

Nashville Predators defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored both Czech goals in the loss to the unbeaten Finns. His Predators teammate Tomas Vokoun stopped 28 of 32 shots.

The Czech Republic will wrap up its preliminary-round play Tuesday against another medal-favorite, Canada.

Italy is tied for last place in Group A with Germany at 0-2-1, and would be eliminated with a loss to the Czechs.

The host Italians nearly notched their first victory of the Turin Games on Saturday, but lost three leads and tied Germany 3-3.

Christian Borgatello scored at 18:28 of the third to put the Italians up 3-2, but Germany's Marcel Goc beat Jason Muzzatti with the tying goal just 15 seconds later.

"It was crushing," said Muzzatti, the Michigan State product who spent parts of five seasons in the NHL, the last in 1997-98 with the Rangers and San Jose Sharks. "It would have been beautiful for our fans."

The Italians have been outshot 105-57 in its three games.

"It's like a roller coaster - you're high and then you come right down low," said Tony Iob, who scored a goal to give Italy a 2-1 advantage early in the third period. "It hurts, but we have to get back on the horse."

Italy faces Switzerland in its final game of the preliminaries Tuesday.

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