Knockout play at the 2018 IIHF World Championships begins Thursday, as the United States take on Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. Here’s everything you need to know to watch the game, even if you don’t have cable:
Note this information is for those who are in the United States
Date: Thursday, May 17, 2018
Start Time: 10:15 a.m. ET (4:15 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.
After going the first six games of the tournament without a loss, the United States saw that streak come to an end with a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Finland, dropping them to second in Group B. They actually out-shot the Fins, 37-35, but goalkeeper Keith Kincaid, who has been tremendous for most of the tournament, made just 30 saves on those 35 attempts.
“I thought we came out and played good hockey at the start of the game before a few bounces didn’t go our way and that was the real difference,” head coach Jeff Blashill said. “We’ve said from the start that we want to learn and improve every game, and you can’t do that without facing some adversity. It’s important for us to learn from this and build as we turn our attention to Thursday and facing a real good Czech team.”
Despite that slip-up, the Americans have been strong overall with the second-best goal differential (plus-23) of all teams. Patrick Kane is tied with Finland’s Sebastian Aho for the tournament-lead in points (six goals, 11 assists), while Cam Atkinson (six goals, four assists), Charle McAvoy (three goals, five assists), Dylan Larkin (three goals, five assists), Chris Kreider (two goals, six assists), Alex Debrincat (one goal, seven assists) and Johnny Gaudreau (one goal, seven assists) are all in the Top 20. And while Kincaid wasn’t great against Finland, he still owns a solid 92.41 save percentage.
As for Czech Republic, they finished third in Group A with six wins (three via overtime) and one loss to Sweden in their first game of the tournament. Dominik Kubalik leads the team with eight points (three goals, five assists), while the Boston Bruins’ David Pastrnak (five points) and David Krejci (six points) have made important contributions in the four games since joining the tournament late after their Stanley Cup campaign ended. And on the other side of the ice, Pavel Francouz and David Rittich have split time in goal and fared pretty similarly.
These teams met in the 2016 quarterfinals, with the Americans advancing via shootout. The winner of Thursday’s rematch will play either Sweden, the only team in the tournament without a loss, or Latvia in the semifinals on Saturday.