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Game on for Sens' medal hopes

by Rob Brodie / Ottawa Senators
Daniel Alfredsson and Sweden aim to keep their Vancouver Olympics gold-medal hopes alive in tonight's quarter-final against Slovakia (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images).

While their teammates get back to business at the Bell Sensplex today, five Senators players hope to extend their absence from Ottawa a little bit longer.

Today is quarter-final day in the men's hockey tournament at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, meaning the road to gold will end for four of the eight teams still remaining in contention.

All eyes, of course, are set on the huge Canada-Russia showdown tonight (7:30 p.m., CTV) at Canada Hockey Place, which could also be viewed by a record television audience across the country as well.

Some 10.6 million viewers tuned into Sunday's Canada-United States round-robin matchup, surpassing the old standard of 10.3 million set during the gold-medal hockey game at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

Amid the expected sea of red tonight, Senators defenceman Anton Volchenkov and Russia hope to spoil the party and advance to Friday's semifinals.

There should be lots of Senators fan interest in the Czech Republic-Finland quarter-final, set for UBC Thunderbird Arena (10 p.m., TSN). It's a matchup that will pit Senators forward Milan Michalek and defenceman Filip Kuba on the Czech side against Jarkko Ruutu of the Finns.

The Czechs' hopes were almost derailed Tuesday night by a gutsy underdog from Latvia, which rallied from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime before David Krejci ended their upset dreams with a goal in the extra period. Latvia's roster included Binghamton Senators forward Kaspars Daugavins.

Later tonight at Canada Hockey Place (midnight, CTV), Daniel Alfredsson and Sweden continue their bid for a second straight Olympic hockey gold against Slovakia. The quarter-final round gets underway this afternoon (3 p.m., Rogers Sportsnet), when the United States faces off against Switerzland.

Semifinals are set for 3 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Friday. The bronze-medal game goes Saturday at 10 p.m., with the gold-medal match closing out the Olympic competition at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday.

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