After just a pair of games yesterday, there's a full slate of four games today, with all four Columbus prospects in action.
Czech Republic vs. Denmark
After two games the Czechs have been a major disappointment, sitting 0-2 at the bottom of Group B. Their potent offense has sputtered, but a game against the Danes could give them the shot in the arm they need to avoid the relegation round. Oliver Bjorkstrand and the Danes, sitting with a single point in the standings thanks to their shootout loss to Russia, will see this game as a must win to keep them out of last place in the Group. Both sides have talented forwards, it will be the team that gets the best goaltending that will come away victorious.
USA vs. Slovakia
This has the makings of a trap game for the Americans- if they take the Slovaks too lightly, they will find themselves on the bad end of an upset. Slovakia surprised the Finns two days ago, but will have their hands full with Jack Eichel, Dylan Larkin and Columbus prospect Sonny Milano. Slovakia has an extra day of rest, as the Americans played last night.
Sweden vs. Russia
This matchup features the top two teams in Group B, and will be a good indicator of which team is destined to come out of the group as the top team. The Swedes have been surprisingly good, while the Russians have looked both out of sync and completely dominant in their opening two games. Sweden has a balanced attack, but the Russians possess a handful of high-end offensive forwards. This has the makings of a shootout.
Canada vs. Finland
Finland eliminated Canada last year, en route to the Championship. Canada has yet to concede a goal, and goaltender Zach Fucale will look to continue that run of defensive dominance. Finland always plays Canada tough though, so this won't be a walk in the park. Connor McDavid broke out offensively two days ago, and Canada will need he, along with the top line of Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Sam Reinhart to be at their best. CBJ prospect Dillon Heatherington has been a rock defensively.