Canada and Russia renew hostilities at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night as both teams look to advance to the gold medal game at the World Cup of Hockey.
Russia stumbled out of the gates to open this tournament after a 2-1 loss to Sweden and they almost had their medal hopes dashed against North America in their second game, but a win there and a 3-0 victory over Finland in their final round robin game secured their spot in the knockout stage and sets up a semi-final date with Canada. Russia has no shortage of offensive fire power as the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Alex Ovechkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Artemi Panarin are all heating up and could be the only group that can rival the stout defense of the Canadians, but the Russian blue line is in for a treat here as Canada has the most balanced attack in the tournament to go along with a very strong defense and the game’s best goalie.
Canada cruised through the preliminary round and finished atop Group A ahead of Europe who will face off with Sweden in the other semi-final on Sunday. The Canadians are so deep across the board and have received nothing but high praise from other coaches in this tournament as both Ralph Kreuger of Europe and John Tortorella of the United States were quoted as saying it’ll take a miracle to beat Canada and that they are vastly talented. Carey Price should get the call after Corey Crawford played against Europe and with Price in the crease, the Canadian attack being what it is, and just how much confidence they are playing with right now I don’t see how they will lose. Russia should pose the biggest threat to Canada thus far and it’s a shame this isn’t the gold medal match, but Canada should have enough to get the win and move on to the finals.