Olympic Hockey 2014: Schedule, TV Info and Team Predictions for Day 8

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Olympic Hockey 2014: Schedule, TV Info and Team Predictions for Day 8
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The men's hockey action at the 2014 Winter Olympics has already produced some exciting highlights and spectacular games, but the best are yet to come in Day 8 and throughout the tournament.

Whether it's a matchup between two gold medal contenders in USA vs. Russia, Sweden trying to continue its winning ways against Latvia or Czech Republic facing Switzerland, there is no shortage of exciting games on tap for Saturday.

Let's dive right in and break down all of the action from Sochi on Day 8.

2014 Olympic Hockey Schedule: Day 8
Time (ET) Tournament Matchup Watch Predicted Winner
3 a.m. Women Sweden vs. Finland MSNBC; NBC Sports Live Extra Sweden
3 a.m. Men Slovenia vs. Slovakia NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra Slovakia
7:30 a.m. Men Russia vs. United States NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra Russia
7:30 a.m. Women Russia vs. Switzerland MSNBC; NBC Sports Live Extra Russia
Noon Men Latvia vs. Sweden NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra Sweden
Noon Men Czech Republic vs. Switzerland USA; NBC Sports Live Extra Czech Republic

 

Predicting Day 8's Top Games 

Russia vs. United States

Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Team USA completed the miraculous and impossible in 1980 when they defeated the Soviet Union for the "Miracle on Ice," but it would be far from improbable if the Americans toppled the Russians this time around as both squads boast world-class talent.

The U.S. boasts formidable players at every part of the roster, like Ryan Suter on defense, Zach Parise on the attack and Jonathan Quick in goal. But it will be tough for them to match what the Russians bring to the table.

In Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin, Russia can boast perhaps two of the top three or four players in the world. Just as well, you can sprinkle in Alexander Semin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk and a number of other NHL stars along with them.

If this were a medal game with everything on the line, one could take a different perspective on predicting it. But in a group stage matchup with a little more than playoff round positioning on the line, the supreme talent should shine through and Russia should win.

Prediction: Russia 4, United States 2

 

Latvia vs. Sweden

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Sweden is depleted to the point where it's severely limiting its ability to generate the offense it needs, but take a hot goaltender into Saturday's game against Latvia. 

Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist gave up two goals in his 2014 Olympic debut in a win over Czech Republic, but shut out Switzerland in convincing fashion. And his team needed each of his saves, as it only won 1-0, thanks to a late goal from Daniel Alfredsson.

Latvia let Czech Republic hang four goals on it on Friday, so it's hard to imagine Sweden struggling to the point where it won't get on the scoreboard at least a few times. The Swedes are without Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Henrik Sedin up on the attacking front but boast plenty of attacking players ready to pick up the slack.

Sweden's depth issues may come back to bite it against the elite nations, but not Latvia, and not with Lundqvist playing this well. 

Prediction: Sweden 2, Latvia 0

 

Czech Republic vs. Switzerland

Julio Cortez/Associated Press

After getting into the win column in Sochi, Czech Republic will look to make it two wins in two days as it takes on Switzerland on Saturday.

The Czechs opened up their quest for a 2014 Olympic medal on a sour note, losing 4-2 to Sweden on Wednesday. But they bounced back on Friday to squeak past a pesky Latvia team, 4-2. 

Jaromir Jagr is feeling it in Sochi, already having scored two goals in two games. He has never scored more than two in an Olympic Games, even though this is his fifth, so all indications are that Sochi may end up going down as his best Olympic performance.

As long as Jagr is wreaking havoc in the offensive zone, and Martin Erat, Patrik Elias and Ales Hemsky continue to attack the net, Czech Republic will continue its ascension past a Swiss team whose only win was 1-0 over Latvia.

Prediction: Czech Republic 3, Switzerland 1

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