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All Four Avs Advance To Olympic Quarterfinals

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

All four Colorado Avalanche players at the 2014 Winter Olympics have made it to the quarterfinals after Russia picked up a shutout victory Tuesday in the qualification playoffs.

Russia defeated Norway 4-0 and will play No. 4 seed Finland on Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. MT (NBCSN, CBC). Semyon Varlamov did not play in the game for Russia as Sergei Bobrovsky received the start instead. Varlamov was coming off a 27-save shutout win on Sunday against Slovakia.

Team Russia has not named a starting goaltender yet for its game against Finland.

Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog and top seed Sweden will open quarterfinal action against Slovenia at 1 a.m. MT on Wednesday (NBCSN, TSN). Slovenia defeated Austria 4-0 on Tuesday for its second win at its first ever Olympic Games.

The winner of the Sweden-Slovenia matchup will play the winner of Russia-Finland in the semifinals on Friday.

Maybe the biggest upset of the tournament so far came Tuesday when Latvia defeated Switzerland 3-1. The up-and-coming Swiss were coming off a silver medal at last year's world championship, but Latvia used two first-period goals to help it capture its first win of the tournament and possibly the biggest victory in its country's history.

Latvia's reward will be facing Canada, the defending Olympic champion, at 10 a.m. MT on Wednesday (MSNBC, CBC).

The Canadians hold the No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals after going undefeated in the preliminary round but losing the tiebreaker based on regulation wins and goal differential. According to reports Tuesday from Sochi, Colorado forward Matt Duchene may be scratched from Canada's lineup in its first elimination game. Duchene has been playing on a line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in his previous two tournament games.

Paul Stastny and the United States will face the Czech Republic in their quarterfinal game after the Czechs held off rival Slovakia in a 5-3 win on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic held a 4-0 lead in the second period, but the game quickly got a lot tighter as the Slovaks scored three unanswered goals to make it a one score game with over 11 minutes left to play. The Czech Republic sealed the game with an empty-net goal with 43 seconds remaining.

The No. 2 seed Americans and the Czechs will face-off at 10 a.m. MT on Wednesday (USA Network, TSN2). The winner will play Canada or Latvia on Friday in the semifinals.

If all four Avalanche players' respective clubs can pick up victories in the quarterfinals, the Avs would be guaranteed to have three of their four players bringing back medals.

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