Group A Preliminary Games
For the third time in this tournament, two Montreal Canadiens prospects will go head-to-head, this time Ryan Poehling going against Joni Ikonen - two of the Canadiens top draft picks this past NHL Draft. This game is very important for quarterfinal positioning. But it is entirely possible that the winner of this game will face the Czech Republic while the loser faces Russia due to the result in that round robin game. It will be interesting to see how the teams play this, as they won’t know what they are playing for due to the order of games. The game will be shown on TSN 1/3 and RDS2 in Canada and NHL Network in the USA.
This is a battle for who will play in the relegation series against Belarus, but not necessarily who will finish fourth in the group. There is a chance that Slovakia, with a regulation win, could finish in third spot ahead of Team USA. Denmark didn’t even dress their starting goaltender Kasper Krog against Canada, knowing the importance of this game. Slovakia gave themselves a buffer with their win over the USA, but it will mean nothing if they can’t pull out the win against Denmark. Every game Denmark has won in this tournament has been the game to keep them out of the relegation round. We’ll see if that streak continues. The game will be on TSN 2 in Canada and NHL Network in the United States at 1pm on January 1.
Group B Preliminary Games
12 PM ET: Czech Republic vs Switzerland
These two teams have punched their quarterfinal tickets and this is simply for positioning. Switzerland would need a blowout win to have a chance to avoid Canada in the quarterfinal, but the Czech Republic could finish in second or third in the group. Both of these teams had trouble against Belarus, and the Czech’s tournament-opening win against Russia is the difference between the two teams. The game will be on TSN 1/3 and RDS2 in Canada. NHL Network in the US will also show the game.
Sweden has not lost a group stage game in 43 games heading into this one, and will look to continue that streak and win the group. There is an outside chance that by the time they take the ice, a group win will see them play the Americans in the quarterfinal, and that may very well be a matchup they want to avoid. It will be interesting to see what happens. Russia will also be playing for positioning and their quarterfinal opponent will also rely on the result of the USA/Finland game. They have won two straight after losing their opener. The game will be on TSN 1/3/4/5 and RDS2 in Canada and NHL Network in the USA will show the game.
All games shown on TSN will be streamed on TSN Go in Canada, but it requires a subscription to TSN.