A spot in the 2018 IIHF World Championship final is on the line Saturday, as the United States and Sweden meet in an anticipated semifinal matchup. Here’s everything you need to know to watch:
Note this information is for those who are in the United States
Date: Saturday, May 19, 2018
Start Time: 9:15 a.m. ET (3:15 p.m. local)
TV Channel: NHL Network
Live Stream: DirecTV Now. There are four different channel packages, and the NHL Network is included in the “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
For much of this tournament, Sweden and the United States have looked like the two best teams. The Swedes rolled through group play as the only team in the tournament without a loss (six wins, one overtime win), while the Americans ultimately finished second in Group B after a loss to Finland but still finished with a plus-23 goal differential.
No game this far into the tournament needs hyping, but this will be a compelling battle of strengths.
During group play, Team USA led all teams with 39 goals scored and added another three in an entertaining 3-2 win over the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. Patrick Kane, who scored two including the game-winner against the Czechs, leads the tournament with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists), while Cam Atkinson is sixth with 11 points (seven goals, four assists), and Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, eight assists), defender Charlie McAvoy (three goals, five assists), Dylan Larkin (three goals, five assists), Chris Kreider (two goals, six assists) and Alex Debrincat (one goal, seven assists) have all made big contributions, as well.
On the flip side, Sweden allowed just nine goals during group play, also the best mark in the tournament. They’ve done despite facing just the fourth-fewest shots on goal (186), a testament to how good Magnus Hellberg and Anders Nilsson have been in between the posts. The former has a save percentage of 93.8 (75 saves on 80 shots), while Nilsson, who has played five of the last six games and was in goal for the 3-2 quarterfinal win over Latvia, is second in the tournament in save percentage at 94.34 (100 saves on 106 shots) and first in goals allowed per game at 1.20.
Going further into the strength vs. strength aspect, the United States’ 14 power-play goals is by far the most in the tournament, as is their 40 percent PP efficiency, while Sweden has killed off penalties 23 out of 27 times, a success rate of 85.19 percent. Whoever wins in that area will have a good chance of moving on to the tournament’s ultimate gate.
For Sweden, they’re looking to get back to the final after winning gold in 2017, while the Americans, who took bronze in both 2013 and ’15, haven’t been to a World Championships final since they won in 1960. Two very different histories, but two very strong teams and one potentially very entertaining matchup.
Source: Heavy Sports