If Michal Neuvirth puts on a couple performances like the one he whipped out against the Washington Capitals in the playoffs, the Czech Republic might do some damage. I expect Petr Mrazek will get the start — an honor well earned after posting a .921 save percentage for the Detroit Red Wings last year.
In 94 NHL games Mrazek boasts a .920 save percentage, which stands out despite it being a pretty small sample size. That’s more than can be said for either Neuvirth (.914 in 200 games) or Ondrej Pavelec (.907, 371 games), who will likely just be along for the free flights.
The Czechs must rely more on their offensive firepower than the stopping power of their netminders to escape Group A, but both Mrazek and Neuvirth are more than capable of stealing a game or two. Pavelec ... you know, he’s going to do a very nice job holding that clipboard and he looks swell in a baseball cap.
Team Czech Republic Goalies
Petr Mrazek, Detroit Red Wings
Michal Neuvirth, Philadelphia Flyers
Ondrej Pavelec, Winnipeg Jets
First Game: Team Czech Republic vs. Team Canada, 5 p.m. PT, ESPNEWS