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IIHF World Hockey Championships Quarterfinals schedule

Even though the NHL playoffs are still ongoing, there is the World Hockey Championships going on, and the elimination games start today.

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United States of America versus Switzerland

9:00 am EST, TSN2

The USA has overcome a mediocre roster to make it to the quarterfinals, but has relied on starting goalie Connor Hellebuyck in order to achieve this result. They've counted on youth, and will need the youngster to step up again when facing the trapping play of Switzerland.

Like the US, Switzerland lacks NHL calibre players, but they do have Mark Streit, and Kevin Fiala, who played a few games with the Nashville Predators this season. The Swiss are a low-scoring team with middle of the pack goaltending. They need to be able to score goals against a stingy Hellebuyck if they want to win. The US is superior in every statistical category compared to the Swiss. While the Swiss may just have bad luck with their shooting percentage, it could also be that their style of play does not encourage high-percentage chances.

Canada versus Belarus

10:00 am EST, TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5

The Canadians throttled their way through the preliminary round with a perfect record. They were able to take advantage of having a bevy of elite NHLers at their disposal. Canada has been dominant offensively, but has had to deal with goaltending that has been questionable from Olympic goalie Mike Smith. For Canadiens fans, this game features former Habs Andrei and Sergei Kostitsyn, both of whom have played in the KHL in recent years.

If Canada's goaltending stands up, Canada should be able to win this game as they are superior in all statistical category. Canada has a higher shooting percentage, higher save percentage, has taken less penalties, been better at killing penalties, and has been more efficient on the powerplay than Belarus.

Sweden versus Russia

1:00 pm EST, TSN2

In the marquee quarterfinal match-up Sweden ends up playing Russia. Russia finished third in their group with 15 points, while Sweden finished second in their group with 16 points. Russia has a deadlier powerplay and is a better scoring team overall, but Sweden is no slouch in either area. The biggest difference between the two teams is goaltending. Russia has Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky minding their net, while Dallas Stars back up Jonas Enroth has been the main goalie for Sweden.

Russia is one of the most penalized teams in the tournament, while Sweden has largely avoided taking penalties. Russia has the deadliest powerplay in the tournament, which should not be a surprise considering the fire power they have at their disposal. Besides having elite NHLers like Evgeni Malkin, the Russians also boasts top KHL talent like Ilya Kovalchuk and Artem Panarin.

Finland versus Czech Republic

2:00 pm EST, TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5

The host nation is going up against Finland's record setting goaltenders in a battle of two teams that are on the opposite side of almost every statistic aside from shooting percentage (offensive efficiency) and powerplay percentage. The Finns have Pekka Rinne in goal, while the Czech Republic has been relying on Ondrej Pavelec to win them games. Coincidently, the Finns are the top goaltending team in the tournament while the Czechs are one of the worst. If this game comes down to a goalie dual, the odds are in the Finns favour.

Up front the Czechs have old players like Jaromir Jagr as well as younger players like Tomas Hertl and Jakub Voracek to provide offence. The Finns have NHL players Aleksander Barkov and Jussi Jokinen to help provide offence. On the powerplay the Czechs are only marginally better than the Finns.