The qualification round has been completed and each winner will play against one of the four teams that got a bye to the quarterfinals on Wednesday. Here are the matches and what channel you should tune in to:
Sweden versus Slovenia (3 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Sweden was the only team to win all three of its preliminary round matches in regulation time. Even with key forwards Henrik Sedin, Johan Franzen, and Henrik Zetterberg sidelined, the Swedish team still has a superb offense and boasts one of the best goaltenders in the world in Henrik Lundqvist. For Slovenia, getting this far is a huge accomplishment after qualifying for the Olympics for the first time. Anze Kopitar is the team’s lone NHL player. (Watch it LIVE online.)
Finland versus Russia (7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN)
Russia’s offense and power play were supposed to be the team’s main strengths going into this tournament, but that largely hasn’t been the case. After beating Slovenia in its opening match, Russia suffered a 3-2 shootout loss to the United States and just barely got by Slovakia in another shootout. The Russians earned a 4-0 victory over the Norwegian team to advance to the quarterfinals, but that match didn’t serve to put the concerns about their offense to rest. Finland will be a big test for them after the Finnish cleanly defeated Austria and Norway before frustrating Canada in a 2-1 overtime loss. (Watch it LIVE online.)
Canada versus Latvia (12 p.m. ET, MSNBC)
Like Russia, Canada has had trouble capitalizing on its overflow of skilled forwards. The Canadians found it particularly difficult to score against a Finnish squad that managed to claim the middle of the ice for the better part of their match. They had anticipated another tough defensive opponent in Switzerland, but instead will face the more offensively-minded Latvian squad. Latvia earned a 3-1 win against Switzerland to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in the nation’s history. (Watch it LIVE online.)
U.S. versus Czech Republic (12 p.m. ET, USA)
The Czech Republic’s coaching staff has made some questionable roster and lineup decisions along the way, which likely contributed to the team’s underwhelming showing in the round robin phase. The Czechs goaltending is suspect too, which will make the United States a particularly daunting opponent. The Americans looked great in the preliminary round. They cleanly beat Slovenia and Slovakia and fought hard for a shootout victory against Russia. (Watch it LIVE online.)
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger