Skip to content

Here are the Olympic playoff matchups

Feb 16, 2014, 2:17 PM EDT

Team USA's T.J. Oshie celebrates after scoring the winning goal against Russia during a shootout in their men's preliminary round ice hockey game at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games February 15, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder Reuters

The group stage is over and the seeding for the playoffs has been determined. Every team still has a shot at the gold medal but, from this point onward, it’s win or go home.

Seeds five through 12 will play in the qualification round while one through four get byes to the quarterfinals. The bracket is now locked and will not be adjusted per round to assure that the highest seed team always plays the worst squad. For example, if the 12th seed Norwegian team defeats Russia, the Norwegians will still face the fourth seeded Finnish squad, not the first seeded Swedes.

No. 8 Slovenia vs. No. 9 Austria

Just getting to this point is a victory for both teams, as Slovenia won its first-ever Olympic game in the group phase (over Slovakia) while Austria won at the Winter Games for the first time in 12 years (against Norway). This game won’t have much in the way of star power as Slovenia has just one NHLer — Los Angeles’ Anze Kopitar — while the Austrians have three in Thomas Vanek, Michael Grabner and Michael Raffl.

Winner plays Sweden

No. 5 Russia vs. No. 12 Norway

The Russians have been underwhelming so far. They lost in a shootout to the United States and barely beat Slovakia, the latter result costing them a bye to the quarterfinals (but that might not be such a bad thing.) If nothing else, Russia can take comfort in the fact that Canada followed a similar path in the 2010 round robin and still ended up winning the tournament. As for the Norwegians, they’ve fallen on hard times since hanging tough with Canada in the tournament opener and were outscored 9-2 in losses to Finland and Austria.

Winner plays Finland

No. 6 Switzerland vs. No. 11 Latvia

A rematch from the opening game of the group stage, in which Simon Moser scored with eight seconds remaining to give Switzerland a 1-0 win. The Swiss have been air-tight defensively — allowing just one goal all tournament — but the Latvians have been competitive in every game thus far and, four years ago in Vancouver, nearly pulled a huge opening-round playoff upset by taking the Czechs to OT before losing.

Winner plays Canada

No. 7 Czech Republic vs. No. 10 Slovakia

Group mates at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, the Czechs beat the Slovaks 3-1 on goals from their big guns: Patrik Elias, Tomas Plekanec and Jaromir Jagr. Neither team has been very impressive in Sochi, though the Slovakians gained a measure of confidence by taking Russia to a shootout in their final group game. The Czechs have been hampered by illness and questionable coaching decisions, but are getting good tournaments from Plekanec (two assists in three games) and Jagr (two goals in three games).

Winner plays U.S.

If you want to see all the potential matches at a glance, the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle has drawn up the bracket:


  1. normanbrennen - Feb 16, 2014 at 2:27 PM

    Rats wish Finland could have pulled that out in OT…stinks we would have to face Canada in semis

    • pastabelly - Feb 16, 2014 at 7:17 PM

      Nope, it’s great that we’ll probably get to see them meet.

  2. angrytwitterguy - Feb 16, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Canada easily had the best D in Sochi, but remarkably, it’s better than we thought.

  3. imgoingtowichita - Feb 16, 2014 at 2:36 PM

    Paves the way for possible Russia vs either US/Canada gold medal game. It’s early and of course much can happen to change that but I for one am excited to see it all play out.

    • pilldoc69 - Feb 16, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      Russia CANNOT play Canada for Gold. They are in the same bracket. There is NO re-seeding after the games.

      • pilldoc69 - Feb 16, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        Russia CAN play Canada for the right to play in the Gold medal game. The only way these 2 teams face each other is by way of Semi-finals. The loser of the Semi-final plays for bronze.

      • chunkala - Feb 16, 2014 at 4:35 PM

        What are you talking about? Look at the bracket up top. They CAN play for the Gold. If you’re going to be so adamant next time, please be right.

      • timmyp716 - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        And which bracket was this that you were looking at?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:01 PM

      What we cannot have is either an all North American final or an all Scandinavian final. But Canada vs Russia sounds good to this old fart who remembers the Summit Series. Hey, where’s Eagleson these days?

      • badgerhockey77 - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:42 PM

        Did they let him out of prison?

  4. slaugin - Feb 16, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    I was blown away at the Def by USA. I had low expectations with a blue line having a lot of younger and inexperienced guys.

  5. iammrbinky - Feb 16, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    I’m calling it now. Switzerland and their tournament best defense will shock Canada 1-0 in the quarters.

    • btlpper68 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:58 PM

      We wish hiller still hasn’t allowed a goal

    • 19to77 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:13 AM

      Scary thing as a Canadian fan is, you’re entirely right. It’s not likely, but it’s entirely possible. That’s not even a long-odds outcome. It’s realistically possible. So, how has Canada fallen so far that this is a legitimate concern to us? We expect of ourselves that we’re essentially the best at hockey, in every aspect. If we’re having to struggle with bloody Switzerland (seriously, no disrespect to the Swiss – fantastic job coming so far so fast), what odds do we have at beating the Americans, Russians or Swedes? We’ve won every game so far, but none against a fellow powerhouse. Facing a true contender, can we measure up? We’ve looked tentative at best. Our defense is golden. Our offense is mediocre and tragic. Could go either way.

  6. sippindasyzurp - Feb 16, 2014 at 3:17 PM

    I think this olympic sized ice has contributed to the games being fairly underwhelming thus far.. Even USA-Russia was a lot of trapping style of play with most goals scored on the PP.. The wide ice makes it much easier for the lesser teams to defend the goal and sit back.. Look at Finland today only 15 total shots? 2 in the second period? That is pretty sad if you ask me..

    I am still excited for the medal round now and maybe now with the better teams playing each other the intensity of the games will ramp up a little more.. So far it has been a lot of 1-3-1 or 1-4 system which makes for boring games on the big ice.

  7. mysonzdad - Feb 16, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    iammrbinky…is that a prediction or a wish/dream? :)

  8. btlpper68 - Feb 16, 2014 at 5:54 PM

    We’ll us won’t have to wait till the gold medal game to see what it has on canada

  9. itswhereyourmindsat - Feb 16, 2014 at 6:50 PM

    I hope we play canada in the semis. If you wanna be the best you gotta beat the best. I’m thinking a USA vs Sweden gold medal game

    • 19to77 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      I would have until all the Swedish injuries. Russia’s gotta be the favourite going into that group as it stands now. It’s kind of sad. Finland and Sweden both should have had much better rosters than they presently do. But such is the reality of pro sports. People get hurt. And now the Russians have the edge for getting to the gold medal game. Still a hard fight by any measure. No disrespect to those teams. But it’s an easier path than it would have been on paper a week ago. Zetterberg, Sedin and Franzen for the Swedes and Koivu, Filpulla and Barkov for the Finns. Those are brutal losses any way you cut it.

  10. purpleguy - Feb 16, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    Bummer, would have rather met the Cannucks in the Gold medal game. Even as a USA homer, I’m realistic enough to acknowledge that Canada remains the team to beat.

    • badgerhockey77 - Feb 16, 2014 at 9:37 PM

      Agreed! I too was hoping for a USA v Canada final again. I’m still not convinced with USA yet. It will be a long shot beating Canada in the semis. Canada seems to sleep walk through the prelims in every Olympics, and then suddenly turn it on. They don’t play well in games that don’t mean anything. No doubt, they are much better then what they’ve shown so far. Definitely a tough draw for USA.

      • 19to77 - Feb 17, 2014 at 1:24 AM

        I can’t help but think it’s a tougher draw for Canada. After all these apparent scoring issues with an on-paper dominant roster against weak teams, we’re going against a U.S. roster that has been superb at keeping the puck out of the net and has plenty of ways to light up the other team – Kessel, Pavelski, Oshie and so on. It’s not a BAD situation for Canada, but it’s a long way from ideal. This is a hard matchup. We’ll need one hell of a game to top the States right now. They’re playing great hockey.

      • nothanksimdriving123 - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:47 AM

        Badger, Canada has a glorious history of slow starts. In the classic 1972 Summit Series, they won just 1 of 4 in Canada, then finally gelled as a team and won 3 of 4 in the USSR.

  11. rflashj - Feb 16, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    Looking forward to see Canada/Russia play. . . . . . . For the Bronze. Let’s go USA!!!

  12. badgerhockey77 - Feb 17, 2014 at 7:20 AM

    @nothanksimdriving123…I am aware of Canada’s slow start in the ’72 Summit Series. I own the 4 DVD set (all 8 games). Classic stuff man. Even as an American, it gives me goose bumps watching it!

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kessel (1946)
  2. P. Kane (1467)
  3. P. Datsyuk (1278)
  4. S. Matthias (1176)
  5. M. Richards (1120)