Malek, Slavia Grab Commanding Finals Advantage

By Bill Meltzer

Making a 1-0 lead stand up throughout a penalty laden game, Slavia Prague goaltender Roman Malek brought his team within one win of the Czech championship. Malek turned aside 36 shots from the dangerous Pardubice attack and Radek Duda, who scored the first Slavia goal, finally put the game away in the final minute after Pardubice’s Michal Tvrdik took a silly cross-checking penalty.

The shutout was Malek’s 4th of the playoffs, lowering his goals against average to 1.30 and raising his save percentage to .961. Malek had a league record 11 shutouts during the regular season among his almost across-the-board league leading stats.

Slavia now has a commanding 3 games to one advantage in the Finals. They will look to complete the mild upset on Sunday to close out the series and the season. In order to win the series, regular season champ Pardubice will need to find a way to solve the best goaltender in Europe in three straight games. They are capable of doing it, however.