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Quarterfinals Set at Olympics

Tuesday, 02.18.2014 / 4:08 PM / Inside Edge
By Mark Stepneski
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Quarterfinals Set at Olympics
Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic and Slovenia advanced to the quarterfinals of the Men\u2019s Olympic hockey tournament with wins Tuesday.

Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic and Slovenia advanced to the quarterfinals of the Men’s Olympic hockey tournament with wins Tuesday.

In Wednesday’s quarterfinal matchups, Russia will play Finland, Latvia will play Canada, Czech Republic will take on the United States and Slovenia will meet Sweden.

Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin saw limited ice time in Russia’s victory over Norway, and Stars captain Jamie Benn is expected to have some new linemates when Canada plays Latvia on Wednesday.

Russia 4, Norway 0

Alexander Radulov scored two goals and assisted on another as Russia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 victory over Norway on Tuesday. Russia will play Finland on Wednesday.

The Russians and Norwegians played a scoreless first period, but Radulov broke the scoreless tie with a goal at 4:12 of the second and then helped set up an Ilya Kovalchuk goal late in the period to extend Russia’s lead to 2-0. Radulov and Alexei Tereshenko tallied in the third to round out the scoring for the Russians. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 22 shots for the shutout.

Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin saw limited playing time in the game, logging just 3:16 of ice time. He played just six seconds in the second period and none in the third. The Russians dressed an extra forward, Viktor Tikhonov, in the game and Tikhonov ended up taking Nichushkin’s playing time in the game.

Latvia 3, Switzerland 1

Latvia headed to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 upset of Switzerland. Oscar Bartulis and Lauris Darzins scored 2:41 apart to stake the Latvians to a 2-0 lead in the first period and goaltender Edgars Masalskis, who made 32 saves, held the fort the rest of the way. Darzins sealed the win with an empty-net goal late in the third period. Latvia will play Canada on Wednesday.

Czech Republic 5, Slovakia 3

The Czech Republic built a 4-0 lead and then had to hang on to beat Slovakia, 5-3, to advance to a quarterfinals matchup with the United States on Wednesday. Roman Cervenka scored two goals and David Krejci and Thomas Plekanec had one goal and one assist each for the Czechs. Marian Hossa scored twice for Slovakia.

Slovenia 4, Austria 0

Anze Kopitar was among the goal scorers and Robert Kristan tossed a 30-save shutout as Slovenia advanced to the quarterfinals with a 4-0 win over Austria. Slovenia, playing in its first Olympic hockey tournament, will face Sweden in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

"Three days ago they said it was the biggest win, against Slovakia, in Slovenian history," said Slovenia's Sabahudin Kovacevic, who had a goal and an assist. "But now, I think this one is the biggest."

Notes: Benn practices with Getzlaf, Perry

*It appears Stars captain Jamie Benn could have new linemates when Canada plays in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. After playing with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron in Sunday’s win over Finland, Benn skated with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Canada’s practice on Tuesday.

“I had a chance to play with them a couple of years ago at the world championships,” Benn told ESPN.com. "They're obviously skilled players, big guys who like to control the puck, control the play and use their big bodies down low. Hopefully we can find some chemistry.

“We can use our size and strength to our advantage out there. We have to find a way to get to the dirty areas, and find a way to get some greasy goals.”

Chris Kunitz moved to the line with Crosby and Bergeron.

*Finnish coach Erkka Westerlund would not reveal his starting goaltender for Wednesday’s quarterfinals game against Russia. Tuukka Rask has started two games, including the last one against Canada, and is considered the favorite to get the nod. Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen has started one game, played well and should get some consideration. Finland’s third goaltender, Antti Niemi, has yet to play in the tournament.

*Through four games, Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin has one goal, four shots, an even rating and is averaging 7:53 of ice time per game for Russia.

*NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said a decision on whether NHL players will participate in the 2018 Olympics in South Korea could come in the next six months.

Tuesday’s qualification games

Slovenia 4, Austria 0
Russia 4, Norway 0
Latvia 3, Switzerland 1
Czech Republic 5, Slovakia 3

Wednesday’s quarterfinal games

Sweden vs. Slovenia, 2:00 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Finland vs. Russia, 6:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Canada vs. Latvia, 11:00 a.m., MSNBC
USA vs. Czech Republic, 11:00 a.m., USA Network

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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