In the World Cup quarterfinals, we will see a classic of world hockey: Russia versus Canada. In the last four head-to-head meetings at World Championships, the Maple Leafs have won exclusively. Will Valeri Bragin's team be able to break their disappointing streak and advance to the semifinals of the tournament? Our prediction: the Russians will be stronger this time!
Russia current form
Before the start of the World Championships, there were many concerns about the Russian national team, because we did not see all of the overseas stars in Riga, but that did not stop Valeri Bragin from assembling a capable team that has so far been able to meet the challenges. In their seven group-stage games, the Russians had only one defeat, losing 1-3 to Slovakia, but won their remaining six games by a combined score of 27-7, thus taking first place in Group A. It is interesting that we were especially concerned about the goalkeeper team, but it was the Russian national team that missed the least in the group, but starting from the quarterfinals, Sergei Bobrovsky will take over the place in the goalkeeper's lineup. Will it do any good? Time will tell.
Canada current form
The Canadian players have likely already begun to pack their bags to leave Riga for their vacations as soon as possible. The night before, however, the Latvian and German teams had failed to agree that a three-way tie would send them to the quarterfinals and the Maple Leafs back home. As a result, the Germans beat the Latvians and thus allowed the Canadians into the playoffs, although they would not have deserved it after a poor start to the World Cup. Yes, gradually Gerard Galland's charges began to improve, but their level of skill is too modest, even though they are Canadians.
Experts betting tips
The Russian team in recent years played very hard in major international tournaments against the Canadians, losing in four consecutive battles with a total score of 10:20. The upcoming game is a great chance to rehabilitate for all the past failures because now the Maple Leafs brought to Riga a very modestly named squad that can and must be beaten. Moreover, Valeri Bragin knows very well how to play against most of these players, as they have been through the youth tournaments where Valery also worked. As a result, a bet on the victory of the Russian national team with odds of about 1.75 is inevitable.
Russia and Canada have been very productive in major international tournaments. In the last seven head-to-head encounters, the opponents have scored 50 goals against each other (7.14 on average per game), while in six cases the bookie's «top» score (0.86 on average per game) has been surpassed. Yes, both teams now have less than stellar lineups, but neither team's goaltenders can be called flawless, especially Sergei Bobrovsky, who has not played his best in Florida two years in a row and is just making his debut in the quarterfinals of the tournament. As a result, a bet on a Draw at odds close to 5.7 is in order.
Dmitri Voronkov slowly but surely made it to the first line of the Russian national team, although he might not have participated in the tournament at all because of an injury. Fortunately, doctors worked well, so the 20-year-old hockey player recovered and now brings tremendous value to the team. In seven held meetings, he scored 6 points (2 goals + 4 assists), while continuing to improve in the course of the World Cup. The match against the Canadiens is a great opportunity for him to prove himself again, as his power-play style will allow him to stand out against his partners in the battle with North American hockey players, so it is worth looking at the bet on the total under 4.5 points odds of about 2.25.