The U.S. Men's National Team meets Sweden tonight in its semifinal game of the 2018 IIHF Men's World Championship here in Copenhagen, Denmark. Puck drop is set for 3:15 p.m. local time (9:15 a.m. ET) at the Royal Arena and will be televised live in the U.S. exclusively on NHL Network.
This is the 54th meeting between the U.S. and Sweden. Tonight's winner will face the Canada-Switzerland semifinal winner in tomorrow night's gold medal game while the two losing teams will play for the bronze medal tomorrow afternoon.
THINGS WORTH MENTIONING
Team USA is the away team and will wear its blue jersey ... The U.S. arrived in Copenhagen yesterday morning and skated at Royal Arena early in the afternoon ... Patrick Kane (8-11--19) has tallied at least one point in every game and leads the tournament in points and assists ... The U.S. has won seven tournament games for the fourth time (2015-bronze, 2013-bronze; 1939-silver) ... Fifteen members of Team USA have faced Sweden in 11 IIHF playoff round meetings and hold a 10-1 (W-L) record ... Connor Murphy scored the overtime game-winner against Sweden in the gold medal game of the 2011 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship ... Team USA is 4-1 in five semifinal games across IIHF and IPC competitions this season ... Chris Chelios will become the 23rd American to be enshrined into the IIHF Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2018 tomorrow.
THE SERIES VS. SWEDEN
Team USA is 11-0-1-36-5 (W-OTW-OTL-L-T) against Sweden in tournament play. Of the 53 meetings, seven have occurred in the playoff rounds. The two teams have met in tournament semifinal play just once before, when Sweden claimed a 3-2 win in 2004.
The two teams met in the preliminary round last year, where the U.S. rallied from one-goal deficits on three different occasions to beat Sweden, 4-3, for its first victory over the Swedes since 2005. Jimmy Howard (Syracuse, N.Y.) made 39 saves and Johnny Gaudreau (Salem, N.J.) scored twice to earn U.S. Player of the Game honors.
THE U.S. IN SEMIFINALS
The United States is 2-8 in nine previous semifinal games in the IIHF World Championship. The IIHF has used various formats over its history, including round robin, double round robin and round-robin medal play among the most common. The world championship has included semifinal games in most years since 1992.
BEEN HERE BEFORE
All 16 players on Team USA that have skated on a U.S. national team previously have experience winning an IIHF semifinal game.
Among the 16 are 11 IIHF gold medalists, including four two-time gold medalists Charlie McAvoy (2017 WJC, 2015 MU18), Connor Murphy (2013 WJC, 2011 MU18), Tage Thompson (2017 WJC, 2015 MU18) and Colin White (2017 WJC, 2015 MU18). Seven others to win an IIHF gold medal include Will Butcher (2012 MU18), Johnny Gaudreau (2013 WJC), Quinn Hughes (2017 MU18) Patrick Kane (2006 MU18), Chris Kreider (2010 WJC), Dylan Larkin (2014 MU18) and Sonny Milano (2014 MU18).
Additionally, five skaters have previously reached the semifinal round of an IIHF Men's World Championship, including Nick Bonino (2015 bronze), Keith Kinkaid (2016 fourth), Dylan Larkin (2015 bronze; 2016 fourth), Anders Lee (2015 bronze) and Connor Murphy (2015 bronze; 2016 fourth).
MURPHY VS. SWEDEN
U.S. alternate captain Connor Murphy (Dublin, Ohio) is seeking his third-straight victory against Sweden in an IIHF playoff game. In 2011, Murphy scored twice, including the game-winner at 6:06 of the overtime period, to lead the U.S. to a gold medal win over Sweden, 4-3, at the 2011 IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championship in Crimmitschau, Germany. Murphy, who had three points in the game (2-1), was named the U.S. Player of the Game. Two years later at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, Murphy and Team USA again met Sweden in a gold medal game where the U.S. skated to a 3-1 win in Ufa, Russia.
U.S. ROSTER HISTORY VS. SWEDEN
Twelve players and two coaches on Team USA have previous experience in facing Sweden at the playoff stage of an IIHF and Olympic competition. Of those meetings specifically, the U.S. has posted a record of 8-2-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L).
2018 World Juniors - SWE 4, USA 2 (Semifinal)
2017 Men's U18's - USA 4, SWE 3 (OTW) (Semifinal)
Quinn Hughes, Seth Appert
2016 World Juniors - USA 8, SWE 3 (Bronze Medal)
Alex DeBrincat, Charlie McAvoy, Sonny Milano, Colin White
2014 Men's U18's - USA 4, SWE 1 (Semifinals)
Dylan Larkin, Sonny Milano
2013 Men's U18's - USA 4, SWE 0 (Quarterfinals)
Will Butcher, Don Granato
2013 World Juniors - USA 3, SWE 1 (Gold Medal Game)
Johnny Gaudreau, Connor Murphy
2012 Men's U18's - USA 7, SWE 0 (Gold Medal)
2011 Men's U18's - USA 4, SWE 3 (OTW) (Gold Medal)
Connor Murphy; scored twice, including overtime game-winner
2011 World Juniors - USA 4, SWE 2 (Bronze Medal)
2010 World Juniors - USA 5, SWE 2 (Semifinals)
2007 World Juniors - USA 2, SWE 1 (Bronze Medal)
|Tues., May 1||Denmark||Exhibition||W, 3-2||KVIK Hockey Arena
|Fri., May 4||Canada||Preliminary||W, 5-4 (SO)||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Sat., May 5||Denmark||Preliminary||W, 4-0||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Mon., May 7||Germany||Preliminary||W, 3-0||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Thurs., May 10||Latvia||Preliminary||W, 3-2 (OT)||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Fri., May 11||Korea||Preliminary||W, 13-1||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Sun., May 13||Norway||Preliminary||W, 9-3||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Tues., May 15||Finland||Preliminary||L, 2-6||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Thurs., May 17||Czech Republic||Quarterfinals||W, 3-2||Jyske Bank Boxen
|Sat., May 19||Sweden||Semifinals||L, 0-6||Royal Arena
|Sun., May 20||Canada||Bronze-Medal Game||W, 4-1||Royal Arena