Group A Preliminary Games
9 AM ET: Sweden vs Switzerland
Two of the most experienced teams in this year's tournament square off in the first game of Group A. Sweden is coming off of an insane 7-6 loss to Canada in the final pre-tournament game while Switzerland defeated Finland and Slovakia in their two pre-tournament games and look poised to avoid the relegation round after beating Germany there last year. The game will be shown on TSN4 and RDS in Canada, NHL Network in the United States.
This game is usually held for New Year's Eve, the final preliminary game, but this year it opens the tournament and will be the highlight of many people's Boxing Day. This is a good first test for Canada as the Americans are poised to be one of the best teams in the tournament. It will be a good barometer of where both teams stand as they battle for Quarterfinal positioning. The game will be on TSN 1/3/4/5 and RDS. It can be streamed on TSN GO. NHL Network will carry it in the US.
Group B Preliminary Games
7 AM ET: Czech Republic vs Russia
The first game of the tournament sees two teams that look evenly matched. Both teams beat Denmark 5-0 in pre-tournament play and the Czechs played Canada tough in a 1-0 loss (the win vs Denmark was Russia's only pre-tournament game). Russia, despite winning the silver medal struggled in their first game last year as they went to a shootout vs Denmark. The game will be on TSN2 and RDS in Canada, NHL Network in the US.
The hosts open the tournament against the newest team to the Top Division. Finland scored only eight goals in five games last year, and lost their two pre-tournament games both by a goal to the US and Switzerland. Belarus lost 7-1 to Canada and will be in a dog fight to avoid the relegation round. The game will be on TSN2 and RDS2 in Canada. The NHL Network will be showing the game on tape delay starting at 3:30 p.m.