Hockey fans are fast looking forward to the upcoming Ice Hockey World Championships which begin in May, held this year in the Czech cities of Prague and Ostrava. Hosting a championship means added anticipation over how the home squad will do. Many hope that legendary forward Jaromír Jágr, who is taking part in training camp, will play, and if possible, lead the Czechs to a medal on home ice.
The Montreal Canadiens avoided their first four-game losing streak this season, defeating the Florida Panthers on Sunday by a score of 4:1. The Habs lost their top scorer Max Pacioretty early in the first but others, including the team's Tomáš Plekanec, fought to take control of the match. Plekanec, who has now scored 24 this season, racked up a goal and an assist. With the win, Montreal regained top spot in the Atlantic Division. Florida, the new home to legendary forward Jaromír Jágr, will not play in this year's playoffs.
The Czech national team beat Norway 1:0 in the second warm up game for the world ice hockey championships being staged in Prague and Ostrava at the start of May. The sole goal on Saturday was scored by Dominik Simon in the 30th minute. Manager Vladimír Růžička made two changes to the team which won 4:0 on Friday, bringing in Petr Zámorský in defence and Hynek Zohorn up front. The Czechs were rarely under pressure in the match but failed to convert many of their chances. Růžička said afterwards that he was happy with the performance but added that some of the plays had been too elaborate.
In ice hockey, Třinec took a 3 to 2 lead in the Extra League play-off semi-finals series against visitors Sparta Prague on Saturday night. The home team were already two goals up by the 13th minute but allowed an initially uncertain Sparta back into the game. It eventually went down the line to penalties with Třinec’s back Zbyněk Irgl scoring the decisive goal. The result means Třinec can get through to the final with victory in the next match. Litvínov already secured their place in the finals, for the first time in 19 years, on Friday night.
Living hockey legend Jaromír Jagr has become the fourth highest performing player in the NHL after equaling the points total of former Pittsburgh playing colleague Ron Francis. Jagr’s total, based on assists and goals scored, now stands at 1,798 points. The Czech picked up two points in Thursday’s 6:1 triumph for Florida against Carolina. Jagr’s Florida still maintain an outside hope of securing one of the last play-off places up for grabs.
In the ice hockey play-off semi-finals, Sparta Prague turned around their losing run against Třinec on Wednesday night. Sparta led throughout and eventually won 4:1 to close the best of seven series 1:2. The duel continues Thursday night with Sparta seeking to again benefit from home advantage and tie the series 2:2. Sparta’s Jaroslav Hlinka and Robert Sabolič each scored twice in front of the over 10,000 spectators. The match ended with a series of bad tempered brawls.
Czech NHL hockey forward Jaromír Jágr scored two goals on Sunday to help the Florida Panthers defeat Ottawa and keep alive hopes for a playoff berth. The final score was 4:2. The player told the media everyone on the team knew of the game’s importance, calling Sunday’s match a “game 7” – referring to the NHL playoff series system. The veteran player only recently joined Florida from New Jersey. The goals on Sunday were the 699th and 700th of Jágr’s NHL career. Florida hold the second wild card in the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
Czech hockey goalie Ondřej Pavelec has been in excellent form and won his sixth game in a row on Thursday for the Winnipeg Jets. The goaltender stopped 39 shots as his team, the Winnipeg Jets, defeated opponents the Montreal Canadiens handily 5:2. Players Frolík and Tlustý got assists. The Jets are 14th in the NHL at the moment while the Canadiens topped the table earlier this week but have currently slipped to fourth spot. The Habs are on 100 points; the New York Rangers are first, with 101.
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