VANCOUVER, BC - FEBRUARY 23: Roberto Luongo #1 of Canada celebrates with Sidney Crosby #87 after defeating Germany during the ice hockey Men's Qualification Playoff game between Germany and Canada on day 12 of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics at UBC Thunderbird Arena on February 23, 2010 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Olympic Hockey: Canada Vs. Russia Game Thread

This is the place for Canada/Russia discussion.

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Olympic Hockey: Canada Vs. Russia Game Thread

7:30 PM ET / 4:30 PM PT: #4 Russia vs #6 Canada

Broadcast details: Live coverage at 7 PM ET (that means pregame stuff, wow!) on CNBC and NBCOlympics.com

This game has all the hype. Everybody expected this to be the gold medal game, or at worst a semi-final matchup. The fact that it's a quarterfinal instead means that one of these teams will be going home without a medal, and that day of reckoning is today for either Canada or Russia.

With the Games in their home land, this is the one gold medal that Canadians really want more than anything. They'd give up all of the rest of them for it, if I had to guess. So how will they stave off elimination (and national embarrassment) today against the high-flying Russians?

Well, they're a deeper team and they need to play like it. They're loaded from top to bottom on offense. Russia is too, but they don't have the same caliber from top to bottom. In goal, Roberto Luongo has to play like Roberto Luongo. Or, better yet, he has to play like Martin Brodeur of old. Even better, he just has to play better than Evgeni Nabokov. None of those tasks are really easy when you consider the amount of pressure on this guy playing in his NHL city, his NHL rink, and for his entire country.

The Russians are going to play physical, early and often. Canada has to match it, and they have to match the Russian intensity from the get go. If Russia scores an early goal like the USA did on Sunday, it'll be bad news for Canada. They need the crowd energized and behind them the entire way.

The winner will see the winner of the Sweden-Slovakia quarterfinal.

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