Team Canada will face Slovakia today, Friday Feb 27@9:30ET, in semi-final action as nothing but a win for Canada will do. The crowd at Hockey Place will be a hostile environment for the Slovaks. Olympic oddsmakers at BETUS.com have Team Canada as -1000 moneyline favorites to beat Slovakia (+500) with the over/under set at 6.5 goals . Be sure to get your 2010 Winter Olympics: Canada vs Slovakia Men’s Semi-Final Hockey Prediction in now at BETUS.com
Team Canada squares off in the round of four after blowing out top-seeded Russia 7-3 in the quarter-finals to record their first Olympic hockey win over The Big Red Machine in 50 years. Canada's offence sputtered through the preliminary round but they kicked it into high gear with four first-period goals against Russia. They never let up, handing the Russians their worst defeat in 16 years. But they can’t expect an easier game against the Slovaks. "We have to use our speed and our size and get a good start," Canada's superstar forward Sidney Crosby said after practice on Thursday. "Everyone's playing as hard as they can and leaving it all out there." Forward Eric Staal said Canada needs to put pressure on the Slovak defence and create turnovers if they are to reach Sunday's final. "We need to focus on our game and be initiating. We want to be on the attack and be worried about our game rather than worried about theirs," Staal said. "If we are on the forecheck and attack we are going to get our opportunities to score and limit them." Canada has played Slovakia only once in Olympic men's hockey competition, a 3-1 loss at the 1994 Games, the last one played without NHL players.
Slovakia played in a drama-filled quarter-final round where they upset reigning gold medalist Sweden 4-3. Pavol Demitra, who plays professionally in Vancouver with the Canucks had a goal and two assists and Jaroslav Halak made 26 saves in the victory. The Slovaks have a shot at a medal for the first time in the Olympics. Their best previous finish was fifth four years ago in Turin. They are the lowest seeded team in the semis and have become the sentimental favourites after their forward Lubos Bartecko was knocked out of the tournament due to an illegal hit that caused him a concussion. "There is no question who the underdog is," said Slovak general manager Peter Bondra. "With all our hearts, that is how we will play and we will be ready for the game." The Canadians are sizing up their opposition for Friday's game: highly skilled forwards such as Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik, some tough defencemen led by last season's Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara are more than capable of sending Canada home. And then there is goaltender Jaroslav Halak, the kind of player who in these types of one-game elimination tournaments can be the great equalizer. The Canadians have great scoring depth but are well aware of what Halak did when facing Russia during the preliminary round after stopping 36 or 37 shots.
Point-Spreads.com 2010 Winter Olympics: Canada vs Slovakia Men’s Semi-Final Hockey Prediction
The Bottom Line: Canada should prevail and meet USA for gold. Be sure to get your2010 Winter Olympics: Canada vs Slovakia Men’s Semi-Final Hockey Prediction I n now at BETUS.com and receive up to 145% in Cash Bonuses and start winning today!