As strange as this tournament has been for many Canadians over the last decade, Canada can help their own cause and regain their countries faith tonight as they have been relegated to a qualification game vs. Germany in order to keep their golden dreams alive. Due to Canada’s inability to finish off Switzerland in regulation and losing to the USA in regulation, Canada has to fight for their Olympic lives this evening in order to keep roughly 30 million people from second thinking our nation’s hockey talent on a global scale.
Canada has not felt hockey supremacy on a professional scale in many years, since their Golden performance at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. Disappointing losses in the World Championships and World Juniors over the last couple years have many Canadian hockey fans hungry for top spot and the label of best in the world. Coach Mike Babcock is still trying to find the right line combination’s in order to produce more goal scoring for a team that should not be shy in that category. Perhaps Canada is looking for more reliable goaltending as well. The #1 projected goalie for team Canada in many eyes this year has been Martin Broduer, but over the last 48 hours it is starting to look like it will have to be Roberto Luongo who is team Canada’s savior on their quest to Gold. Germany has not looked like a pushover in this tournament, as they opened the tournament with just a 2-0 loss to defending gold medalists Sweden, but dropped a key game to Belarus late in the round robin to put themselves into a matchup with the powerhouse Canadian squad.
The winner for this game will move onto the quarter-finals where they will faceoff against a hungry Russian squad whose quest for gold is hungrier than ever. Betting lines, odds, and predictions for this game and other hockey games happening tonight from the Winter Olympics can be found below.
Canada vs. Germany Betting Line and Odds:
Over 6.5 (-120)
Under 6.5 (+100)
Canada vs Germany Spread Prediction – Take GERMANY to beat the 4.5 spread tonight against the home-town Canadians. Forget all of the hype leading up to these Olympics being in the backyard of the Canadians, because as we know crowd noise and atmosphere can only get you so far. We saw Canada get stymied by Jonas Hiller and the Swiss a few nights ago, and again by Ryan Miller and the USA a couple nights later, so there is no reason for Canada to be rolling over Germany in tonight’s game.
Although Canada has arguably been the better team in all 3 of their games so far this tournament, the results just have not been there. Canada can outshoot their opponents and dominate the flow of play all they want, but until they consistently can put up goals and consistently prevent them, this team will have a tough time winning, especially by a margin of 4.5 goals. This Canada team has not displayed the powerhouse type of production expected, and I like tonight’s elimination game to be closer than the spread suggests.
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Other Olympic Hockey Matchups for February 23rd:
Czech Republic -3.5 (-105)
Latvia +3.5 (-115)
Over 6.5 (+120)
Under 6.5 (-140)
Game Prediction – Take the CZECH REPUBLIC to cover the 3.5 spread tonight against the Latvians. Arguably the best game so far of this tournament was the Russians vs. Czechs on Sunday afternoon, however, the Czechs missed out on an opportunity to win their pool by losing 4-2 to the Russians, so they find themselves in an elimination game vs. Latvia. Jaromir Jagr looks just as good as he has in previous years from the NHL, along with many other skilled and talented players from the NHL and European Elite Leagues. The Achilles heal for the Czech is their defense, as it was vulnerable is some situations against the high-flying Russians, but Tomas Vokoun has been stellar between the pipes for the 1998 Olympic Gold Champions. Latvia simply does not have the talent, speed and strength to keep up with an impressive-looking Czech squad for a full 60 minutes.
Slovakia -3.5 (-105)
Norway +3.5 (-115)
Over 6.5 (+120)
Under 6.5 (-140)
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Game Prediction – As predicted by many, both the Slovakian and Norwegian squads are playing in an elimination game. Not predicted by many was the 2-1 shootout upset the Slovaks handed the Russians in their 2nd game of the round robin. After suffering the worst defeat of this tournament by losing 8-0 in their tournament opener to Canada, Norway responded well but fell just shy of a victory vs. Switzerland in overtime. Pal Grotnes has been stellar in net for Norway, but the Slovakian offense is no slouch. Many high-end NHL forwards are representing Slovakia at this year’s tournament, too many for Norway to handle and I believe this one will turn into a blowout. Take SLOVAKIA to cover the 3.5 point spread.