February 22 , 2006
The quarter-final match-ups for today:
16:30 (local)/10:30 (ET) | Esposizioni | A2 - Switzerland vs. B3 - Sweden
17:30 (local)/11:30 (ET) | Palasport | A1 – Finland vs. B4 – USA
20:30 (local)/14:30 (ET) | Esposizioni | B2 – Russia vs. A3 - Canada
21:30 (local)/15:30 (ET) | Palasport | B1 – Slovakia vs. A4 – Czech Republic
Russia represents another big challenge for Canada.
Many were picking Canada and Russia to be facing off for the gold medal at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Although, this won’t be the case, their quarter-final game on Wednesday may feel like a gold medal game.
While Canada has come out the gates slowly, they continue to have a top team on paper. If the talent meshes in time, they could still go very far in this event.
The same holds true for Russia, a team full of great talent that has had some ups and downs during the round robin.
Pavel Datsyuk has been their most consistent performer to date, and leads the team with eight points. Other top talents up front, such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Alexander Ovechkin and Alexei Kovalev have had flashes of brilliance, but the consistency has not been there.
Russia’s defence has been inconsistent as well. Sergei Gonchar’s struggles in the NHL have continued in Turin, and he stands at -2 over the course of the tournament. Andrei Markov, Anton Volchenkov and Danil Markov have been their best on the point, but all of them will need to be at their best against Canada’s depth up front.
In net, Evgeni Nabokov has been stellar and is undefeated in four games, postinng a 0.67 goals against average and a superb .968 save percentage.