There are hungry Bruins on the prowl in Copenhagen. David Pastrnak scored two first-period goals to spark the Czech Republic to a 6-0 romp over France on Sunday.
Roman Horak also tallied twice and Dmitrij Jaskin, who has formed a dynamic line with Pastrnak and his Bruins teammate David Krejci, added a goal and an assist. Martin Necas also scored, and Jakub Krejcik had two helpers. The Czechs currently sit third in Group A and continue to polish their game as the quarter-finals loom.
In a battle of backup goalies, the Czech Republic’s David Rittich had a far more comfortable time en route to his first career Worlds shutout than either France’s Ronan Quemener or Sebastian Ylonen, who replaced Quemener midway through this lopsided affair. The Czechs outshot France 55-10.
"Listen, it's not often that you see a game as easy as that one," said Czech captain Roman Cervenka. "Even against France we've had hard games in the past. We just did really well in the first period and after that it was much easier. We could play how we wanted."
Right now, Josef Jandac’s men look like a good bet to break a Czech medal drought that goes back to 2012’s bronze. They're undefeated in their last five games, and the magic truly kicked in when Pastrnak and Krejci dominated in Thursday's 4-3 overtime win over Russia. The Czechs are seeking their first gold medal since Germany 2010.
This defeat all but extinguishes France’s faint hopes of reaching the quarter-finals. Still, the undermanned squad can still take pride in remaining in the top division, as they’ve done annually since 2008.
Both teams were missing significant players. Czech veteran Andrej Nestrasil (0-3-3) rested with an arm injury. French captain Stephane Da Costa, who entered this game as his team’s leading scorer (1-4-5) sat out with a reported finger injury, while defenceman Florian Chakiachvili hasn’t played since sustaining a back injury versus Austria.
The Czechs close out their group stage against the Austrians on Monday, while France wraps up against neighboring rival Switzerland on Tuesday.
At 3:41, Pastrnak opened the scoring off Krejci’s faceoff win in the French zone, whizzing one high past Quemener to the stick side. Krecji, who led the NHL playoffs in scoring with Boston in 2011 and 2013, has recorded at least one point in all three of his World Championship games so far.
Just over four minutes later, it was 2-0. Taking a pass from Jaskin, Pastrnak zoomed through the neutral zone and used defenceman Yohann Auvitu as a decoy, firing a quick shot that Quemener got a piece of – but not enough. It was the 21-year-old sniper's fourth goal in three games.
Although he didn’t get an assist on the 3-0 goal at 14:11, Krejci forced a turnover in the neutral zone, and Krejcik got it to Jaskin, who blazed in off the left side and sent a perfectly placed shot inside the far post for his fourth of these Worlds.
"Yesterday we had a day off and that was good for us," said Necas. "We had a good game where we could score some goals and play with the puck."
At 1:37 of the second period, the Czech power play clicked for a 4-0 lead. Horak cunningly tipped Dominik Kubalik’s point shot through the kneeling netminder’s pads.
"Nothing worked out for France and, by contrast, everything we tried seemed to come off," said Cervenka.
Poor French discipline remained a problem as Jonathan Janil was sent off for a hit to the head of Filip Chytil, who was helped off the ice. However, the New York Rangers prospect would be back in action, as the game turned into a Czech shooting gallery. Chytil put one off the crossbar and Horak banged in the rebound for a 5-0 lead at 7:41.
That prompted French coach Dave Henderson – in his final Worlds before being replaced by Philippe Bozon next year – to insert Ylonen in Quemener’s place. It was the first Worlds action ever for the half-Finnish son of former French Olympic goalie Petri Ylonen.
In the third period, Necas dipsy-doodled his way into the French zone and winged the puck past Ylonen to make it 6-0 at 10:32.
"It's great," said Necas. "It's a dream for every player. Every player wants to represent his country at the highest level. It's a great feeling and I'm really enjoying it."
The French have never beaten the Czechs at an IIHF World Championship. They lost all three encounters with Czechoslovakia, and this was their ninth straight defeat against the Czech Republic.