Four quarter final matches will be taking place today and information on three of the four matches can be found here. Out of six teams, only three will succeed. Team USA, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Slovakia will all look to be that successful team, as all the teams will compete to get past their opponent and book their spots in the semi finals. May the odds be ever in their favour.
1:00 PM EST USA vs Russia (TSN/NHL Network)
Team USA's loss to Canada became a costly one, as they drew the ever dangerous Team Russia as their opponent in the quarter finals. Despite the loss however, forward Dylan Larkin had an impressive showing. The Detroit Red Wings pick had a tremendous tournament so far, putting up 7 points in 4 games (5G, 2A) - including scoring 2 goals against Team Canada.
Team Russia will face the tough task of overcoming Team USA with an underwhelming group of forwards up front. The Russians only managed a single powerplay goal against Team Czech Republic and their leading goalscorer has only managed to score 3 goals in this tournament.
Unless Team Russia figures out a way to stymie Team USA's forwards, this match up does not seem favourable to the Russians. In fact, as long as Team USA can neutralize Leshenko, Barbashev and Buchnevich, the Americans should have little trouble defeating Team Russia and should move on to the semi finals comfortably.
3:00 PM EST Sweden vs Finland (TSN 2/NHL Network)
Uncharacteristic losses suffered by Team Finland have pushed the rematch of last year's gold medal match ahead of schedule. Goal support seems to be a big issue for the Finns, as not a single player on their roster has scored more than 3 goals in the tournament and the entire team has only had 5 goals for over four games (only Germany has put up less goals for). Even captain Artturi Lehkonen has been held to a single point all tournament long (1G).
In comparison, Team Sweden has been absolutely dominant. Led by Oskar Lindblom (7 points in 4 games) and William Nylander (7 points in 4 games), Team Sweden has had no problems with out scoring their opponent. In fact, the Swedes have only managed to score less than 5 goals on the opposing team just once in this tournament. Team Sweden has also benefited from the stellar play of Vancouver Canucks' pick Gustav Forsling. Forsling has quietly put up 6 points in 4 games and leads all defensemen in the tournament in points.
Team Sweden is the heavy favourite in this match up. Last year's silver medalists will be extra motivated to avenge their loss and capture a spot in the semi finals. With a group of talented forwards up front and a solid group of defensemen in the back, the Swedes look like they will easily take this match. But Team Finland should never be under estimated. Though goalscoring has been an issue, goaltending certainly hasn't been and it may just be enough to allow the Finns to steal this match. Habs prospects Jacob De La Rose and Artturi Lehkonen will go head to head in this match.
5:00 PM EST Czech Republic vs Slovakia (TSN/NHL Network)
Team Czech Republic defeated Team Russia on the back of David Pastrnak's incredible 3-point performance. The Boston Bruins' prospect has now put up 7 points in 4 games and has been a crucial part of the Czech offence. In fact, Pastrnak and Washington Capitals' prospect Jakub Vrana have combined to produce 3 goals and 7 assists for Team Czech Republic. But the Czechs' incredibly porous goaltending situation, may come back to burn them in their next match.
Unlike the Czechs, Team Slovakia continues to rely on one forward for their offense - captain Martin Reway. Reway has put up 5 points in this tournament (3G, 2A), including a hattrick against Team Germany. He will be depended on to be the catalyst that drives the Slovakian forwards. Goaltender Denis Godla has also rebounded after getting pulled in his first game and has not given up more than 3 goals over 60 minutes, since.
Team Czech Republic comes into tho match as goliath but their weakness is clearly in net. Team Slovakia seems to have the opposite problem - while they have received great goaltending, their offense hasn't nearly produced enough goals. Ultimately, this match will be decided by the lethal Czech Republic offense or the performance of Slovakian goaltender Denis Godla. This will also be a match up that features a Bruins prospect (Pastrnak) against a Canadiens prospect (Reway).