After the one-sided qualification games were completed Tuesday, here’s what the quarterfinal matchups will be:
No. 1 Sweden plays Slovenia at midnight Tuesday.
No. 2 U.S. plays Czech Republic at 9 a.m. Wednesday (USA Network).
No. 3 Canada plays Latvia at 9 a.m. Wednesday (MSNBC).
No. 4 Finland plays Russia at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Despite the presence of the Kings’ Anze Kopitar with Slovenia, I don’t see Sweden having a struggle. Goaltender Jonathan Quick of the Kings and Team USA should defeat the Czechs, but better not take anything for granted or it will be a long flight home. Canada should rout Latvia. Finland’s matchup with Russia looms as the only one with the slightest bit of intrigue. The pressure is on the hosts to win gold. Finland has played a strong, smart game since its opener and has superb goaltending. Still, it would be an upset if the Russians don’t win and advance to the semifinals. The semis should look like this Friday:
Sweden vs. Russia and U.S. vs. Canada.