There was a little more intrigue in one of the game's last night, but the Czechs dismantled Denmark 7-0 (and outshot them 44-12), and Slovakia eventually prevailed over Latvia 3-1, with the aid of an empty netter. Thomas Hertl scored twice for the Czechs while Jakub Culek had three assists in their blowout win. Meanwhile, the Slovaks ran into a hot goaltender in Kristers Gudlevskis, who made 42 saves, only surrendering a deflection goal by Tomas Jurco and a rebound tap in by Marek Tvrdon.
Both the Czechs and Slovaks are back in action today as we see the Top 8 nations all playing against each other in some form. For all teams involved, this is their second game of the tournament.
Group B, Game 4: USA (3 pts) vs. Finland (0 pts) - 1:30 PM MST, Rexall Place, Edmonton
The Americans didn't face much competition in their debut against Denmark, but their PK unit had a lot of trouble and they'll have to work to fix that up. Connor Brickley will likely miss today's game after being cut on his leg vs. Denmark. Finland, meanwhile, needs to forget their dreadful start quickly and get set for a team just as deep as Canada in the Americans. No word on whether Sami Aittokallio will be ready to play in this one, while Olli Määttä is almost certainly out for the tournament with a concussion.
Broadcast: NHL Network (USA), MTV3 (Finland), TSN/RDS (Canada), Eurosport2 (Europe), Viasat (Sweden), NTV Plus (Russia).
Group A, Game 4: Sweden (3 pts) vs. Switzerland (0 pts) - 3:30 PM MST, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
The challenge goes up a bit for both teams in this game. The Swiss outplayed Russia but couldn't solve Andrei Vasilevskiy in Game 1, but they'll be facing a much better defensive club in Sweden today. Sweden, meanwhile, can't take the Swiss as lightly as they took the Latvians... or at least goaltender Johan Gustafsson has to maintain consciousness. Johan Larsson and Petter Granberg will be game-time decisions for the Swiss.
Broadcast: SVT (Sweden), TSN2 (Canada)
Group B, Game 5: Canada (3 pts) vs. Czech Republic (3 pts) - 6:00 PM MST, Rexall Place, Edmonton
On paper, the Finns should've been a tougher challenge, but that they turned out to be duds in the face of Canada on opening day. I'm not sure what to make of how the Czechs will do, but I'm expecting a similar result. The Czechs have yet to activate Daniel Pribyl, who remains an injury concern for them, while Canada is obviously without Devante Smith-Pelly for the rest of the tournament. The Czechs played last night, but were hardly challenged, so they probably have a bit more energy than most teams that play 2 games in 2 nights. Petr Mrazek, however, better be ready.
Broadcast: TSN/RDS (Canada), Ceske Televisie (Czech), Eurosport2 (Europe), Viasat (Sweden), NTV Plus (Russia).
Group A, Game 5: Russia (3 pts) vs. Slovakia (3 pts) - 8:00 PM MST, Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary
I'm not sure what to make of either of these team's openers... is Slovakia closer to Latvia's level than Switzerland, or was it just good goaltending from Latvia keeping them in it? As for Russia, do they have another level defensively than what they showed against the Swiss? Both teams won rather unconvincingly considering their opponents, and while this should be an easy Russian victory, I'm curious as to how this one will play out.
Broadcast: NTV Plus (Russia), TSN2 (Canada).
All games are available online either through the broadcaster's websites (provided you are in their region), or through FastHockey.