Seven Blackhawks advanced to the medal rounds of the 2014 Winter Olympics, ensuring that a minimum of four representatives will bring home hardware from Sochi, Russia. In Wednesday's early game, Sweden logged a 5-0 win over Slovenia in the quarterfinals, sending the trio of Niklas Hjalmarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger to the semifinals. The top-seeded team scored late in the first period and held their 1-0 lead through two periods, before netting four insurance goals in the final frame. New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves for his second shutout of the tournament.
Later in the day, Team USA and Canada simultaneously booked their spots, although their games played out in stark contrast. The Americans raced to a 3-1 lead after the first period and never looked back, emerging with a 5-2 victory over the Czech Republic; Minnesota Wild defensemen Ryan Suter collected three helpers to lead the way. The Canadians, however, had to withstand one of the tournament's best goalie performances from Latvian netminder Kristers Gudlevskis, eking out a 2-1 result despite a 57-16 shot differential. The results set the stage for a rematch of the 2010 gold-medal showdown between the two countries, this time for a spot in the final against either Sweden or Finland, who will contest the other semifinal game.
Marcus Kruger (SWE): Kruger led the Swedes with 11 faceoff wins and recorded one shot on goal in 11:54 of ice time against Slovenia. He was on the ice for a pair of third-period goals by linemate Carl Hagelin and ended the game with a +2 plus/minus rating. The 2009 fifth-round pick leads his countrymen with a 57.8 faceoff win percentage (26-for-45) through four games.
Niklas Hjalmarsson (SWE): Hjalmarsson skated 18:32 in today's tilt, second-most on the team after fellow defenseman Erik Karlsson. He recorded two shots on goal and a +1 rating in the game.
Johnny Oduya (SWE): Oduya claimed his first point of the tournament with an assist on Loui Eriksson's third-period goal; he ended the game with one shot on goal and a +1 rating in 17:04 of ice time.
Patrick Kane (USA): Kane assisted on the opening tally of Team USA's win over the Czechs, bringing his tournament totals to four helpers in four games. He ended the game with two shots on goal and a +1 rating in 17:28 of ice time.
Michal Rozsival (CZE): Rozsival logged one shot on goal and was on the ice for two American goals in 18:54 of playing time, as the Czech Republic saw their medal hopes end. The defenseman finished the tournament with four shots on goal and a -5 rating in five games, averaging 14:13 per game.
Duncan Keith (CAN): Keith was held without a point, but shared second on Team Canada with five shots on goal in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Latvia; he also ranked second with 22:41 of ice time in all situations and took a minor penalty for playing with a broken stick. In four games, Keith has 12 shots on goal and a +4 rating, while averaging 21:25 per game.
Patrick Sharp (CAN): Sharp opened the scoring for Canada at 13:37 of the first period with his first career Olympic goal. He finished the game with two shots on goal and a +1 rating in 12:37 of ice time, while playing on a mixed line with Rick Nash, John Tavares (who left the game with an injury) and Martin St. Louis.
Jonathan Toews (CAN): Toews picked up his second assist and point of the tournament on Team Canada's power-play game-winner late in the third period, seeing 18:15 of ice time in the tilt. He went 8-for-12 at the dot (66.7 percent) and ranks third on the team with a 59.0 faceoff win percentage through four games.
Other day 7 notes: Sweden's opponent in the semifinal will be Finland, who stunned Russia in the other early quarterfinal match with a 3-1 win. Ilya Kovalchuk gave the hosts a 1-0 lead, but the Finns scored three unanswered goals before shutting down the Russians' potent offense, which was limited to just 19 shots on goal. Anaheim forward Teemu Selanne's second goal of the tournament held up as the game-winner, and Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask made 18 saves for the win.
Semifinal playoff schedule (Friday, Feb. 21):
(1) Sweden vs. (4) Finland - 6 a.m. CT
Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger, Johnny Oduya (SWE)
(2) United States vs. (3) Canada - 11 a.m. CT
Patrick Kane (USA), Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews (CAN)