Winter Olympics 2014: Men's ice hockey discussion thread, Day 5

TJ OSHIE AMERICAN HERO - Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Following arguably the best day of Olympic Hockey in Sochi so far, we reach the final day of group play today, as Canada and the U.S.A. both have a chance to win their respective groups.

We're on the final day of group play, and after history was made in multiple games yesterday, it's sad to see this part of the tournament come to an end. Three of today's four games have big implications as far as seeding -- both Canada and Finland are gunning for the No. 1 overall spot, USA has an outside chance at No. 2, and Russia could sneak back into the top three. Below, we'll try and explain, briefly, what's on the line with each game today and what the potential standings implications are. (Remember: the three group winners and the highest remaining seed get byes in the opening round of the elimination tournament.)

Yesterday's Games

Slovenia 3, Slovakia 1 (Group A)

Brief Recap: A monumental day for hockey in Slovenia, which managed to pick up its first win in Olympic history with an upset over the Slovaks. A game that was deadlocked at zeroes through two periods saw Slovenia score three straight in a 5:19 time span early in the third period. Anze Kopitar -- the team's only NHL player -- scored the team's third goal. A tremendous result for a team that no one realistically expected to win any games.
Flyer Watch: Andrej Meszaros played 20:17, with no points, and committed a penalty in the third that led to Slovenia's first goal.

USA 3, Russia 2 (SO) (Group A)

Brief Recap: T.J. OSHIE FOUR SHOOTOUT GOALS JONATHAN QUICK PATRICK KANE LET'S GO U S AAAAAAAAAAAA
Flyer Watch: None

Switzerland 1, Czech Republic 0 (Group C)

Brief Recap: This seems like it's an upset, but the Swiss team has been playing well this entire tournament and it took advantage of a Czech team that just seems out of sorts. Switzerland's Simon Bodenmann scored in the first period, and some solid team defense and good goaltending by Jonas Hiller made it stand up the rest of the way. All three of Switzerland's games so far have been 1-0 games, with the Swiss coming out on top in two of them. They'll finish group play second in Group C with six points (2 W-0 OTW-0 OTL-1 L), while the Czechs finish third with three points (1-0-0-2).
Flyer Watch: Mark Streit had the second-most ice time of any Swiss player at 22:36 and played a solid game defensively, though he had one minor penalty. Jakub Voracek had one shot on goal in 13:17.

Sweden 5, Latvia 3 (Group C)

Brief Recap: A surprisingly contested game saw Latvia give the Swedes just about all they could handle for a while -- even leading early on in the second period -- but the Swedes scored twice in the second and third periods to put it away. Five different Swedish players scored in the contest, including Ottawa's Erik Karlsson for the third straight game. Sweden has won Group C with three wins in regulation, and can do no worse than the No. 2 overall seed in the elimination stage depending on today's results. Latvia ends group play with three losses, and could end up anywhere between the 10th and 12th seed.
Flyer Watch: None

Today's Games

Austria vs. Norway (Group B)

Game Time: 3:00 a.m. ET
TV: USA Network
At Stake: Both teams are looking for their first win in Sochi, so there's pride at stake. But if either team loses in regulation, they may end up as the 12th (and last) seed in the tournament, although that's not for certain and would depend on the margin of victory.
Flyers? Michael Raffl (Austria)

USA vs. Slovenia (Group A)

Game Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Network
At Stake: If USA wins in regulation, they win Group A and would be no worse than the No. 3 seed, potentially bumping up to No. 2 if they win by enough and if Finland/Canada goes to overtime. If USA wins in overtime, they still win Group A and would be the No. 3 seed. If Slovenia wins in regulation, they actually would win Group A if Slovakia beats Russia in regulation.
Flyers? None

Russia vs. Slovakia (Group A)

Game Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
TV: USA Network
At Stake: Russia could win Group A (and the No. 3 seed) with a win (regulation or OT) and a regulation loss by USA, or with a regulation win and an OT loss by USA. If they win but USA also wins, they would be the No. 4 seed if Canada/Finland does not go to overtime. Slovakia, with a regulation loss, would likely be the No. 11 or even the No. 12 seed, depending on what happens with Austria/Norway and depending on how much they lose by. If they win in regulation, they could jump as high as the No. 9 seed (and technically as high as the No. 7 seed).
Flyers? Andrej Meszaros (Slovakia)

Canada vs. Finland (Group B)

Game Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
TV: USA Network
At Stake: If either of these teams win in regulation, they will be the No. 1 overall seed, and the loser will be likely be No. 4 if either of Russia and USA lose and No. 5 if both of them win (with the potential to drop to No. 6 if the game is an absolute blowout). If the game goes to overtime, the winner will either be the No. 2 seed or No. 3 seed, and the loser would once again likely be No. 4 or No. 5 depending on what Russia and USA do.
Flyers? Kimmo Timonen (Finland)

Enjoy.

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