Throughout the entire 2018 Winter Games, NBC Olympics staff will preview the upcoming slate of hockey games.
Olympic Athletes from Russia vs. Czech Republic, 2:40 a.m. ET, NBCSN | LIVE STREAM
After an opening loss to Slovakia caused many to declare the men’s tournament “wide open,” the Olympic Athletes from Russia have firmly reestablished themselves as gold-medal favorites. OAR rebounded with three dominant victories over Slovenia, the United States and Norway to cruise into the semifinals. Well-rested and featuring three of the top 10 point-scorers in the Games—Nikita Gusev, Ilya Kovalchuk and Kirill Kaprizov—the team undoubtedly expects to be playing for gold this weekend.
However, OAR has something the Czech Republic doesn’t: a loss. The undefeated Czechs may not have the star power of their opponents, but they have played as well as any side in the tournament and will not consider themselves underdogs heading into the semifinal showdown.
Canada vs. Germany, 7:10 a.m. ET, NBCSN | LIVE STREAM
Canada may be looking for its third consecutive Olympic gold, but without the services of countless NHL All-Stars that led the roster in Vancouver and Sochi, the team has not looked like a juggernaut by any stretch. Having said that, the Canadians have only lost one game in PyeongChang—a 3-2 overtime defeat against the Czech Republic—and their defense impressively contained Finnish superstar Eeli Tolvanen in Canada’s 1-0 quarterfinal win.
Meanwhile, Germany is the Cinderella story of these Olympics. The team is guaranteed at least a shot at a medal, which would be the country’s first in ice hockey since 1976. The Germans were far from impressive in the preliminary round, barely eking out a single victory in overtime against winless Norway in their final group game. But they made it a habit in the knockout stages, beating Switzerland in overtime and doing the same to Sweden in the quarterfinals. Germany will skate with confidence, and it will feel even better if the game isn’t decided in 60 minutes.