Which tilted matchups are most likely to determine the outcome of the Olympic hockey semi-finals? Each game can be broken down into a series of matchups of different kinds and in different situations, and each of the remaining national teams have distinct advantages in one or more of them. These will be the critical sub-games to watch this Friday.
Using analytics, we broke down the various aspects of each team's games into sub-components, and then scored them against their opponents. Special teams, faceoffs, shootouts and goaltending, for example, all examined in different potential line combinations.
Overall there was very little difference in goaltending in either game, and very few differences period in the USA/Canada matchup. There were, however, some very specific instances where certain lines could face each other in certain situations where one team had a noticeable edge over the other.
What follows is our review of the top ten most significant semi-final mismatches, what each team brings to the table, and the potential impact of the favored team's advantage.
Line combinations sourced from Daily Faceoff, basic NHL statistics from NHL.com, Olympic statistics from Extra Skater, and all other advanced NHL statistics are via writer's own original research unless otherwise noted.