First we have Sweden vs Finland.
A classic rivalry of the North.
Finland didn't start out very well in this tournament, losing 8-1 to Canada, but after that they've been improving quite a bit. They beat the USA 4-1, the Danes 10-1 and the Czechs 4-0.
It should also be noted that they used their backup goalie against Canada. Still, they did have their starter in the crease in the 8-5 quarter final win against Slovakia, so it's not impossible to score on him.
Sweden has been unimpressive but effective. Beat Latvia 9-4, the Swiss 4-3 on penalties (had a 3-1 lead but let the Swiss back in the game and then won in the shootout), Slovakia 9-1 and Russia 4-3 in overtime (the period by period scoring 0-3, 0-0, 3-0, 1-0 says it all...).
Sweden should win, but it is important to never underestimate the Finns in these games. They always have an extra gear when they play Sweden. A younger sibling complex or something that makes them fight till the last drop of blood.
Then there's another classic rivalry: Canada vs Russia!
Canada has been impressive so far, beating Finland 8-1, the Czechs 5-0 and Denmark 10-2. In the last meaningless game against the USA they took a 3-0 lead and then took the foot off the pedal, letting the US score two consolation goals and "lose honourably" 3-2. Canada were favourites going into this tournament, and they still are.
Russia has looked surprisingly good in this tournament. They beat the Swiss 3-0, the Slovaks 3-1 and then the Latvians 14-0. Seriously. Three games into the tournament they had only allowed one goal against, and had scored 20!
Thus I was a bit pessimistic about Sweden's chances, but when push came to shove they were beatable. Sure, they got themselves a 3-0 lead before we managed to turn the game around, but Sweden had a puck in off a skate that would have made it 2-1, but the refs disallowed it. They also reviewed Swedens GWG (off a stick shaft, fairly high up), but that time they decided it was good. Anyway. The Russians pulverize inferior teams, but had a hard time against Sweden (we also won the shots 55-26, and sure, it's in part from chasing a lead the whole game. Still, 55-26. That's 55. And 26.).
All in all, my prediction is that just as the skilled Russians couldn't handle Sweden in the long run, they may get an early lead against Canada, but won't be able to hold on to it.
My money is on Canada.
Per wrote:So, quarter finals today. I predict that the Russians and Finns will prevail.
The Czechs and Slovaks should start discussing reunification.
Two for two, eh?
OK, so there may not be a reunification in the cards any time soon.
Still. Two out of three ain't bad.