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“I really thought we had good bounce-back after yesterday,” Slovak captain Zdeno Chara said. “We just have to build on that and get ready for our next opponent. You always have a chance in this tournament no matter what you do in your first games. You can still move along if you win that do-or-die game. We have to get ready for that.”

The Russians had no time to stew over their narrow loss to the Americans — or that disputed call on a disallowed Russian goal in that game. Slovakia immediately mired the Russians’ beautiful offensive game in a tight-checking positional contest that magnified every scoring chance and resulted in several injuries.

Russia’s desperation increased in the third period, outshooting Slovakia 15-2 and barely missing on numerous scoring chances. Laco turned them all away, and defenseman Andrej Meszaros saved the game early in overtime by blocking a rebound shot by Alex Ovechkin, who hasn’t scored a goal since the opening minutes of Russia’s first game.

”It mattered to us,” Meszaros said. “We wanted to prove to ourselves we could play better hockey than we showed in the first two games. I think we showed everybody that we can play with anybody.”