World Junior Championship TV schedule, results: Watch Team USA vs. Russia
Here's what you need to know heading into Team USA's first medal round game against Russia
The preliminary round at the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo came to a close on Sunday, and now the real fun begins.
The United Statesand will have a tougher road to the gold medal game if they hope to repeat as champions at the annual U-20 tournament. That road begins with a quarterfinal matchup against Russia on Tuesday night.
Heading into the contest, here's what you'll need to know.
How to watch
- Who: Team USA vs. Russia
- When: Tuesday, January 2nd, 8 p.m. (ET)
- Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, NY
- TV: NHL Network, TSN1/4/5, RDS
What's on the line?
Well, for one, Team USA's chance to repeat as champions for the first time in tournament history. We're in the single-elimination stage of the tourney now, so the stakes are extremely high. The winner of USA-Russia will move on to face the winner of Sweden-Slovakia in the semifinals. Emotions typically run pretty high in these games, and Russia will be looking to avenge their semifinal loss to the Americans in last year's tournament.
How did the teams finish the preliminary round?
The Americans had a rollercoaster opening round and finished with a 3-1 record. Their, but they quickly bounced back with a . The Americans also took down Denmark and Finland.
Meanwhile, the Russians finished the prelims 2-2, losing first to the Czech Republic in the tournament's opening game, then to Sweden (in a shootout) in the final preliminary game. They beat Switzerland and Belarus, the two bottom teams in Group B.
This is the first time that USA and Russia will meet this year.
The 2018 World Juniors medal round runs through this week, with the tournament concluding with medal games on Friday. Here's a complete rundown of the next wave of games:
Tuesday, Jan. 2 (Quarterfinals)
- Finland vs. Czech Republic, 12 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN 1/3/4/5)
- Denmark vs. Belarus, 2 p.m. (Relegation)
- Canada vs. Switzerland, 4 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN 1/4/5)
- Sweden vs. Slovakia, 6 p.m. (TSN3)
- United States vs. Russia, 8 p.m. (NHL Network, TSN1/4/5)
Thursday, Jan. 4 (Semifinals)
- Denmark vs. Belarus, 12 p.m. (Relegation)
- TBD vs. TBD, 4 p.m.
- TBD vs. TBD, 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 5 (Finals)
- Denmark vs. Belarus, 12 p.m. (Relegation)
- Bronze medal game: TBD vs. TBD, 4 p.m.
- Gold medal game: TBD vs. TBD, 8 p.m.
NHL prospects to keep an eye on
USA forward Casey Mittelstadt (Buffalo Sabres) was the best player in the opening round of the tournament, leading all players with nine points (four goals, five assists) in the four preliminary games. The Americans' forward group was a little shaky as a whole, but they were carried by strong performances from their stars, and no star was brighter than Mittelstadt.
The 19-year-old Mittelstadt has excellent vision and creativity with the puck on his stick and he's great at creating space to help facilitate offense. Every now and then he can do it all by himself, too.
Also impressive in the preliminary round were American forwards Brady Tkachuk (2018 eligible) and Kieffer Bellows (New York Islanders). Tkachuk had six points (two goals, four assists) and was an undeniable presence on the ice. He's got a very high motor and fiercely competes on every shift. He's got a great combination of skill, speed, size and toughness that will make him a top pick in this summer's NHL Draft.
Klim Kostin (St. Louis Blues) was the standout for Russia in the preliminary round. He's showed excellent ability and creativity in the offensive end and netted four goals. Kostin was selected with the first-round pick that the Penguins traded as part of their package to acquire Ryan Reaves last summer.
Russia also got a very good opening round from Andrei Svechnikov (2018 eligible), who recorded five assists through the first four games.
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