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Canada Vs Latvia Live Stream Tips And Olympic Hockey Match Preview

Canada vs. Latvia – Live Stream, Tips and Olympic Hockey Match Preview

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in Olympics 19 Feb 2021

Sidney Crosby (credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The emerging hockey nation of Latvia, fresh from it’s first tournament win since Salt Lake City 2002, will attempt to pull off one of the greatest Olympic upsets in modern history later today when they face off with the defending Olympic champions, Canada.

The game is scheduled to start at 17:00 GMT.

In the UK, the game airs live on BBC’s interactive service, while live coverage is available online with bet365.

Get Canada vs. Latvia coverage here:



In what has to be considered the biggest surprise of the tournament thusfar, the Latvians somehow found away past the Swiss when, in the first round at least, they had otherwise failed. They put three goals past star netminder Jonas Hiller, en route to a 3-1 round-of-12 victory, ensuring a Quarterfinal match-up with Canada. The win was Latvia’s first since they beat lowly Austria in the first game of the 2002 tournament.

Pacing the Latvians in their win over the Swiss, as he has for much of the tournament to this point, was goaltender Edgars Masalskis, who made 32 saves in a first-star performance. A relative unknown before entering the tournament, Masalskis has provided the Latvians with excellent goaltending, putting them right up and in their match-ups with strong clubs like the Czech Republic and Sweden. For a team with just one NHL’er and no real offensive depth, goaltending was always going to be a key caveat in any success; that Masalskis has been so stellar, particularly against the Swiss, has been their saving grace.

Acting in the role of hero for the Latvians against the Swiss, alongside Masalskis at least, was forward Lauris Darzins. He had two of the team’s three goals, despite limited ice time, and looks to be a player the Canadians will key in on on Wednesday. Still, he doesn’t represent the crux of the Latvian attack; that role is played by center Zemgus Girgensons, and winger Mikelis Redlihs. Both are class forwards who are, at any time, capable of a game-breaking offensive play. Though they have arguably yet to run up against a team of Canada’s depth, the Latvians will hope that these two, along with Darzins, can capitalize on any scoring opportunities the Canadians grant them.

The Canadians hit their first speed bump of the tournament, in their first true test, on Sunday. They beat Finland 2-1, but required overtime to pull off the win. In doing so, they eliminated themselves from first-seed contention, and instead had to settle for the third seed. This won’t be seen as some terrible omen for the Canadians through, as they were the fifth seed in the 2010 tournament, and wound up winning gold there.

In spite of what has been a lacklustre start to the tournament, the Canadians will like what they’ve seen from Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, who leads the team with four goals. Doughty had both of Canada’s markers in the 2-1 victory over Finland, and has been stellar at both ends of the ice in a heavy-minutes role. Having been one of the surprise stars of the Vancouver 2010 tournament, where he really emerged onto the world stage as a force, Doughty is once again showing why, in spite of his mediocre NHL numbers over the past few years, he is one of the very best young defensemen in the NHL.

One guy the Canadians will hope can emerge from his funk is, of course, captain Sidney Crosby. Sid has 0 goals and just two assists in the team’s first three games, a function, at least in part, of unfamiliarity with linemates. He has been rotated heavily through the line-up, with head coach Mike Babcock unable to settle on the exact combination of forwards to line up alongside his star center. As the Canadians will be supremely confident of success over the Latvians, expect Babcock to further experiment with his line combinations, with hopes that, should he manage to find the perfect wingers for Crosby, he can have a fuse lit under him in anticipation of the medal stage of the tournament.

One would like to be able to realistically say that the Latvians can pull off a ‘Miracle 2.0’ here, but it’s not likely to be in the cards. Tuesday’s win over Switzerland represented a watershed moment in Latvian hockey, and is something they will surely build on moving forward.

Still, the Canadians are a different beast, and will surely bring too much to the table for Latvia to handle. Expect them to respect the Latvians, but, in kind, carry out a gameplan which should yield plenty of success.

author avatar
Leigh Copson
Leigh is, without a doubt, the most over worked writer here at Crunch Sports. A statistician at heart, she can reel off Superbowl plays from decades ago. If we need a deep-dive into the numbers in any sport, we call Leigh first.

Leigh is, without a doubt, the most over worked writer here at Crunch Sports. A statistician at heart, she can reel off Superbowl plays from decades ago. If we need a deep-dive into the numbers in any sport, we call Leigh first.

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