Update: Our Quarterfinal and Team Canada recaps can be found here.
Let's just file yesterday's humbling loss to Finland in the "wake-up call" folder and move on from it.
The round robin has concluded and Canada finished 2nd in Group B with a record of 6-0-0-1. Their prize from all that hard work is a date in the quarterfinals with Sweden who has earned a medal in 5 of the last 7 tournaments. Speaking of Sweden, Mikael Backlund (Calgary Flames) captained the Swedes and had 3 goals and an assist in 7 games during the round robin.
After a total of 56 games being played thus far, here's a look at the standings of each group:
Note: 3 pts = Regulation Win, 2 pts = OT Win, 1 pt= OT Loss, 0 pts = Regulation Loss
|IIHF World Hockey Championship Group A Standings|
x= Playoffs, e = eliminated, r = relegation
The dynamic of Group A radically shifted after Team Russia introduced Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Kuznetsov, and Dmitri Orlov to the tournament. Russia has won six straight and look to be getting even better, beating Sweden 4-1 yesterday. The Czechs are a bit of a surprise at the top as they don't really have a ton of NHL talent on their roster. I'd pin the Czechs as a team that could get knocked out early considering they've barely beaten Switzerland, and lost to Denmark in their last two games.
Team Denmark is simply happy to be in the playoffs for the first time since 2010 and while the Finns should roll over them, perhaps Denmark can channel some magic in the quarterfinals.
|IIHF World Hockey Championship Group B Standings|
x= Playoffs, e = eliminated, r = relegation
Group B was dominated by both Finland and Canada with Finland being the only undefeated team left in the tournament. A surprise was Germany getting four wins in the tournament and finishing third in the group ahead of the United States. Germany is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011 and will draw the host Russians, talk about bad luck. Finland's run to top spot in the group was a combination of strong offense and defense, a combination that will make them very difficult to beat in the playoffs.
Shoutout to Team Hungary and their boisterous fans that cheered them on throughout this tournament despite knowing how difficult and how ugly some of the games would be. Unfortunately, they won't be back at next year's tournament as they've been relegated.
Team Russia ended the tournament with three of the top four scoring leaders with Vadim Shipachyov turning heads in North America with 13 points in 7 games. Artemi Panarin (Chicago Blackhawks) had 12 points in 7 games followed by Patrik Laine of Finland who had 10 points. Hoping he's alright after a *borderline* hit from Corey Perry yesterday.
Czech Republic (1A) vs United States (4B) Thursday at 7:15am MST
The Czechs and Americans will meet in the quarterfinals in what I expect to be a closer game than the typical 1-vs-4 games usually are at this tournament. Auston Matthews will be looking to extend his tournament and cement his #1 draft status, and he could really cement it if he could lead the United States to the medal round. The Czechs have some questions right now but have been very good in this tournament and are looking to parlay that into playoff success. My prediction: 4-3 USA
Canada (2B) vs Sweden (3A) Thursday at 11:15am MST
Both teams were humbled in their final round robin matchups as Canada lost 4-0 and Sweden lost 4-1. While Canada didn't have too much trouble with the rest of their group, Sweden had some close calls against questionable hockey nations. They squeaked out one goal wins against Latvia, Norway, and Switzerland. I think Canada will be better than Sweden but the game will still be fairly close. My prediction: 5-3 CAN
Finland (1B) vs Denmark (4A) Thursday at 7:15am MST
There's really no reason why anyone can expect Finland to lose this game. However, Denmark has nothing to lose in this tournament while Finland must feel some added pressure being the only remaining undefeated team and having the expectations to win it all. This game will start close but end as it should. My prediction: 5-1 FIN
Russia (2A) vs Germany (3B) Thursday at 11:15am MST
I've mentioned this already but I will again. Talk about bad luck for Germany. They have drawn probably the hottest team out of Group A recently as their quarterfinal matchup. Even with Thomas Greiss (New York Islanders) in net, Russia just has too much firepower for the Germans to handle. Germany will also have to deal with the raucous home crowd in Moscow but who knows, maybe their will be an upset here. That's why the games are played. But seriously though, I doubt it. My prediction: 3-1 RUS
There's your tournament update. All quarterfinal action goes on Thursday before the semifinal games go on Saturday. The medal games will both go on Sunday and we'll keep you posted with all the IIHF World Hockey Championship news that we can get our hands on.
Vote below in our poll on which top team you think will the tournament this year. Go Canada Go!