Ice hockey at the 2014 Winter Olympics will continue on Wednesday with four win-or-go-home quarterfinal showdowns featuring eight of the top men's teams on the planet.
Headlined by Sweden, the United States, Canada and Russia, Day 12 is sure to produce plenty of exciting results inside the Bolshoy Ice Dome and Shayba Arena in Sochi. With four teams set to advance to Friday's semifinals, guaranteeing each a shot at a medal, the stakes couldn't be higher.
Below we'll get you set with viewing info and predictions for Wednesday's matchups.
|Date||Matchup||Start Time||TV (U.S.)||TV (U.K.)|
|Feb. 19||Sweden vs. Slovenia||12 p.m. MSK, 3 a.m. ET, 8 a.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Feb. 19||Finland vs. Russia||4:30 p.m. MSK, 7:30 a.m. ET, 12:30 p.m. GMT||NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Feb. 19||Canada vs. Latvia||9 p.m. MSK, 12 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. GMT||MSNBC||BBC Two|
|Feb. 19||United States vs. Czech Republic||9 p.m. MSK, 12 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. GMT||USA Network||BBC Two|
Day 12 Predictions
Sweden over Slovenia
Slovenia crushed Austria 4-0 on Tuesday to set up a quarterfinal clash with Sweden. But despite the Slovenians' impressive form and heartwarming run, watch for the Scandinavian powerhouse to advance in Wednesday's first showdown.
In case you missed it, Slovenia defeated Austria 4-0 this morning to advance to quarters vs. Sweden. Great accomplishment for tiny Slovenia.— Tom Gulitti (@TGfireandice) February 18, 2014
Anchored by Henrik Lundqvist in the crease, top-seeded Sweden, who were the only team to win all three of their round-robin games in regulation, will be heavy favorites to reach the semifinals and contend for a podium spot this February.
Keep in mind that Lundqvist has allowed only three goals on 78 shots faced, turning in a save percentage of .936 thus far.
Prediction: Sweden 2, Slovenia 1
Russia over Finland
Although Finland were able to secure one of the top four seeds, the fourth-seeded hopefuls are likely to struggle against the hosts on Day 12. Despite coming up short in a dramatic shootout against Team USA on Saturday, the Russians have been awfully impressive in wins over Slovenia, Slovakia and, most recently, Norway.
So first seeded Sweden gets Slovenia in quarter-finals. Fourth seeded Finland gets Russia. One sign that the round robin matters! #Sochi2014— James Mirtle (@mirtle) February 18, 2014
Plus, Russia boasts far more firepower than Finland with Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin and the NHL's leading goal scorer Alexander Ovechkin.
Fresh off a 4-0 thrashing of Norway on Tuesday, expect the hosts to prevail in a hard-fought battle on their home ice on Day 12.
Prediction: Russia 3, Finland 2
Canada over Latvia
After going unbeaten in their three round-robin games, defending Olympic gold medalists Canada will look to trounce Latvia on Wednesday.
Daugavins on how Latvia can beat Canada,``We’ll just tell our goalie to stop every shot. Then you can’t lose, right?''— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) February 18, 2014
While the Eastern Europeans were able to knock off Switzerland on Tuesday for a berth in the quarterfinals, remember, this is a squad that lost all three of their round-robin games, getting outscored 10-5 in those matchups.
Meanwhile, Canada are as explosive as Olympic squads come, and are playing lights-out defense to complement their high-powered offensive attack. Led by Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter and Shea Weber, the North American powerhouse has all the tools required to reclaim gold in Sochi this February.
Expect the Canadians to roll on Wednesday.
Prediction: Canada 4, Latvia 1
United States over Czech Republic
Which top seed is most likely to lose on Wednesday?
Team USA will be expected to advance comfortably past the Czech Republic on Wednesday inside Shayba Arena. Not only are the Americans the reigning Olympic silver medalists, but they won all three of their round-robin matchups and finished the stage with the best goal differential of any team in Sochi at plus-11.
With Phil Kessel leading the way with four goals and three assists, watch for the U.S. to cruise past the Czech Republic and into the semifinals.
The Czechs' 5-3 win over Slovakia showcased their offensive potential, but also highlighted their glaring defensive weaknesses, which Team USA are poised to exploit on Wednesday.
Prediction: United States 3, Czech Republic 1
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