Sweden Hockey

Olympic Hockey, Day 4 Preview: Finland, Sweden Try To Pull Away

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Olympic Hockey, Day 4 Preview: Finland, Sweden Try To Pull Away

After an unbelievable third day of men's hockey competition on Thursday, six teams will try to match the intensity in three more games throughout the day in Vancouver on Friday. Here are the games, the story lines, and an updated look at the standings.

Today's Games and Storylines

3 PM ET / Noon PT : Belarus vs Sweden in Group C action

Broadcast details: Live coverage on MSNBC

Belarus is the most injury ravaged team in the Olympic tournament, at least when it comes to vital players being out of the lineup. They're also the one team that can't afford those injuries. They have very little depth and it certainly showed against Finland on Wednesday when they fell 5-1.

Still, that 5-1 score was a lot closer than it seems, as Belarus held the Finnish lead to just a goal for most of the second period. Eventually, their legs just couldn't keep up with those of Finland and they couldn't keep up. Sweden will likely be able to wear them down just the same today, or at least that's what they will try to do.

The Swedes didn't look particularly impressive in their 2-0 win over Germany and they'll need to be vastly better today and as the tournament moves on if they'd like to have a shot at defending their gold medal.

7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT : Czech Republic vs Latvia in Group B action

Broadcast details: Live coverage begins at puck drop on NBCOlympics.com and at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT on CNBC

Latvia is widely considered the worst team in the tournament. Russia beat them 8-2 in their first game on Wednesday. The Czechs defeated Slovakia 3-1 that same day, and yesterday, Slovakia defeated Russia 2-1. So what's that mean for Latvia?

Of course, those sort of comparisons never come to pass, and if we've been taught one thing by this Olympic tournament so far it's that we can't place outcomes on games before they're played. Latvia is not a good team and the Czechs are a medal contender, but the same could be said for Switzerland versus Canada last night.

Odds say this won't be a close hockey game. That doesn't mean it won't be.

12:00 AM ET / 9:00 PM PT : Finland vs Germany in Group C action

Broadcast details: Live coverage begins at puck drop on NBCOlympics.com and at 12:30 AM ET / 9:30 PM PT on CNBC

Germany is a scary team in this tournament. They played Sweden extremely tough the other day, and while they lost 2-0, they gave everything they had. They fore-checked hard, they played defense with a necessary urgency and they weren't walked over by the defending gold medalists.

It wasn't even like they were bailed out by a hot goaltender. Sweden by no means controlled the offensive pace, and the Germans were able to hang tight with them. Final shot totals were just 25-21 in favor of the Swedes.

Finland will have to get creative to beat Germany. They have to dictate the pace of the game and not allow Germany to jump all over them. This German team has nothing to lose and they'll beat the Finns if they try to sleepwalk through this one.

Standings


Group A

GP W L OTW OTL GF
GA
PTS
United States
2 2 0 0 0
9
2
6
Canada
2
1
0
1
0
11
2
5
Switzerland 2
0
1
0
1
3
6
1
Norway 2
0
2
0
0
1
14
0



Group B

GP W L OTW OTL GF
GA
PTS
Russia
2 1 0 0 1
9
4
4
Czech Republic
1
1
0
0
0
3
1
3
Slovakia
2
0
1
1
0
3
4
2
Latvia 1
0
1
0
0
2
8
0



Group C

GP W L OTW OTL GF
GA
PTS
Finland 1 1 0 0 0
5
1
3
Sweden 1
1
0
0
0
2
0
3
Germany
1
0
1
0
0
0
2
0
Belarus 1
0
1
0
0
1
5
0


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