There's no sugar-coating today's matches. There are just two of them and they feature the 1 vs. 5 seeds in each pool, so we should be expecting lopsided results in each of them. It's just the nature of the format, and for some reason the IIHF has decided to put both of these games as the only matches of the fourth day. Both #1 seeds have to play a back-to-back scenario at some point, and the advantage of being #1 is that they happen to be against the #4 seeds on the first night and the #5 seeds on the second night. It's nice being at the top.
That said, after this, we'll be into the hotly contested matches of the preliminary round for the 30th and 31st. Not that we didn't have a couple of those yesterday, as this tournament decided to have a day of surprises outside of the Canada-Czech match. I'll get into that in more detail later, I've been away from my computer for much of the last 24 hours but I'll do a bigger recap and have an opinion piece up shortly. I'll also be taking in a game tomorrow (I don't have press credentials for the tournament, so this will be an in-crowd experience), when Denmark closes out their preliminary round against Finland at Rexall Place in the evening game.
The Danes are in over their heads, and they know it. It's tough to compete when you almost certainly only have one player on your team that would have made the team you're playing against, and so while Nicklas Jensen shouldn't look out of place in this matchup he'll be trying to help his overmatched teammates save a bit of face. Canada returns Mark Visentin to the goal after seeing Scott Wedgewood get a 26 save shutout against the Czechs. Denmark will be pleased if they can get back on the scoreboard in this game, after being shutout by the Czechs 7-0 their last game. Denmark has yet to score at even strength in this tournament. Meanwhile, tournament leading scorers Ryan Strome and Jonathan Huberdeau could be quite a ways ahead of their competition by the end of the night, but expect Canada to use some of their depth players a bit more tonight.
Broadcast: TSN/RDS (Canada)
While Latvia has been the Group A pushover, they've been relatively resiliant in staying in their games for longer than was expected. Against Sweden, they took advantage of a sleepy goaltender to stay in that game until past the midway mark of the second period. Against Slovakia, they used their own goaltender to a 1-0 lead into the third period before giving up two goals and an empty netter for a loss, despite being outplayed. Russia, meanwhile, has been quite underwhelming against the 3rd and 4th ranked teams in their group (Switzerland and Slovakia), but they do have the two wins and can clinch a spot in the playoff rounds with a win here. Russian captain Yevgeni Kuznetsov has yet to break through with a goal, but he had 9 shots against the Slovaks and definitely is due for a big night. Andrei Vasilevskiy should get his second start in goal, after Andrei Makarov played against the Slovaks making 31 saves in the 3-1 win.
Broadcast: TSN2 (Canada)
There are no broadcasts of the games today outside of Canada, not even from the Russian channel, which tells you something about what is expected of tonight's games. If you are outside of Canada and want to watch the games, Fasthockey is your ticket to the action.