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World Championship

World Championship quarterfinals preview

Sweden, seeking third straight gold, plays Finland; U.S. faces Russia, Canada opposes Switzerland

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Sweden's bid to win the gold medal at the IIHF World Championship for a third straight year continues with a quarterfinal game against Finland at Steel Arena in Kosice, Slovakia, on Thursday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN).

No nation has won the tournament three years in a row since the Czech Republic did it from 1999-2001.

Sweden finished third in Group B in the preliminary round following a 7-4 loss to Russia on Tuesday. Forward William Nylander (Toronto Maple Leafs) leads all scorers in the tournament with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in seven games.


[RELATED: 2019 World Championship schedule, rosters]


Finland, which lost 4-2 to Germany on Tuesday and finished second in Group A, allowed 11 goals in seven games in the preliminary round, tied with Canada for second-fewest in the tournament. Much of the offense has come from 18-year-old forward Kaapo Kakko, a top prospect for the 2019 NHL Draft, who is tied for fourth at the tournament with six goals.

The United States, which won the bronze medal at the 2018 Worlds, will play Russia at Ondrej Nepela Arena in Bratislava on Thursday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN). The U.S. lost 3-0 to Canada on Tuesday to finish fourth in Group A. Forward Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) has driven the offense with 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in seven games.

Russia allowed a tournament-low seven goals in winning all of its seven preliminary-round games to finish first in Group B; goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (Tampa Bay Lightning) has a .946 save percentage and two shutouts in five games. Forward Nikita Kucherov (Lightning), the Art Ross Trophy winner as the NHL's top scorer this season, is tied for second in scoring with 15 points (six goals, nine assists) in seven games, and forward Evgenii Dadonov (Florida Panthers) is tied for the tournament lead with seven goals.

Canada, which finished first in Group A, plays Switzerland at Steel Arena (10 a.m. ET). Canada won its final six games of the preliminary round after a 3-1 loss to Finland in its opener. But Canada will be missing its leading scorer, forward Anthony Mantha (Detroit Red Wings), because of a suspension for an illegal check to the head and neck against U.S. forward Colin White (Ottawa Senators) on Tuesday. Mantha is tied for the tournament lead with seven goals.

Switzerland, last year's silver medalist, lost its final three games in the preliminary round and finished fourth in Group B. Center Nico Hischier (New Jersey Devils) leads Switzerland with eight points (three goals, five assists) in seven games.

The Czech Republic, which won its final four games in the preliminary round to finish second in Group B, will play Germany in the other quarterfinal at Ondrej Nepela Arena (2 p.m. ET). Forward Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers) is tied for second in the tournament with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) and forward Michael Frolik (Calgary Flames) is tied for the tournament lead with seven goals.

Germany finished third in Group A. Forward Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers) leads with eight points (five goals, three assists). Goalie Philipp Grubauer, who joined Germany after the Colorado Avalanche were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, has allowed three goals in two games.

The winners of the quarterfinal games will be reseeded for the semifinals Saturday (9 a.m. ET and 1 p.m. ET; NHLN). The gold-medal game will be Sunday (2 p.m. ET; NHLN) after the losing teams in the semifinals play for the bronze medal (9:30 a.m. ET; NHLN).

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