The Czechs and Americans have all been eliminated from the 2016 World Cup while the Canadians and Europeans have advanced to the semifinal round.
That means there are still spots up for grabs — between Team North America, Sweden, Finland and Russia — and a whole lot of jockeying for seeding.
With that said, here’s a look ahead at Wednesday’s action:
Team North America vs. Team Sweden (3 p.m. ET)
The Swedes are in the driver’s seat for Group B, thanks to earlier wins over Russia and Finland. All they need from today’s game is a single point, and they’ve clinched their semifinal berth.
For the North Americans, things are slightly more difficult. They’re tied on two points with the Russians, but Russia holds the tiebreaker because of its head-to-head win (Monday’s 4-3 victory).
— If TNA wins (in any fashion), Russia’s game on Thursday versus Finland is a must-win.
— If TNA loses (in any fashion), Russia would only need one point on Thursday against the Finns to advance.
Things will get really interesting if TNA beats Sweden today and Russia beats Finland tomorrow. That would give TNA, Sweden and Russia all 2-1 records. In the event of a three-way tie, the tiebreakers are as follows:
Step 1: Total Points (2 points for any win, 1 point for any OT/SO loss)
Step 2: ROW (total regulation/OT wins, not including shootout wins)
Step 3: Regulation Wins (total regulation wins only)
Step 4: Goal Differential (total goals for minus total goals against)
Step 5: Total Goals Scored (total goals for)
Steps 6-7 will be calculated based upon games played between tied teams only:
Step 6: Goal Differential (total goals for minus total goals against)
Step 7: Total Goals Scored (total goals for)
Based on that, North America would clinch a semifinal berth with a regulation win over the Swedes today.
Other clinching scenarios, per NHL PR:
Team Europe vs. Team Canada (8 p.m. ET)
As Mike Babcock would say, “it’s real simple” — whoever wins today finishes atop the group, and whoever loses finishes second. It’s probably nice to finish first, but there isn’t much in the way of a competitive advantage, as there’s no home ice to play for.
What’s more, neither side will know who they face in the semifinal until tomorrow, due to the crossover format with Group B.
So it’s safe to suggest there could be a lack of intensity.
It’s still unclear what European coach Ralph Krueger intends to do — Jaroslav Halak could probably use a break, having faced 65 shots through two games — and there’s a chance Luca Sbisa and Mikkel Boedker, who have yet to dress in the tournament, could get a game.