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World Championships semifinal broadcast schedule and preview

All four teams left in the World Championships have a Leaf player on the team. , if you stretch the definition to include Auston Matthews for the USA. So you can find someone to cheer for no matter what happens!

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Schedule

9:15am Toronto time:
Finland vs Russia

1:15pm Toronto time:
Canada vs USA

Both games are on TSN 1, 3, 4 and 5.

Both games will be streamed on NBC Live Extra.

If you can't watch the game, a live ticker of game actions is available from the IIHF homepage. Look for the LIVE link next to the game you want to follow, once the game has begun.

Preview

Both games pit one of the top two teams in the round-robin against their underperforming next-door neighbour who has something to prove.

Finland, who have yet to lose a game, face another tough test in the home team Russia. They passed the Canada exam with flying colours, beating the second best team by a humiliating shutout score. The Russian team may prove a tougher challenge.

In net, the Russians have Sergei Bobrovsky, backed up with Ilya Sorokin. That's quite the step up from Cam Talbot and Calvin Pickard.

The other thing the Russians have is the top line in the tournament. They just don't roll them out as the number one. They soften you up first with Alex Ovechkin and then Sergei Mozyakin and Pavel Datsyuk and then they let you see Artemi Panarin, Vadim Shipachyov and Yevgeni Dadonov.

They have a solid defence all the way down to their last pair, where they usually hide Maple Leaf Nikita Zaitsev and Red Wings Alexei Marchenko. And they are a tough team to beat.

The Finns, of course, know all about how tough the Russians are. No one knows you like your neighbour.

Lurking in the Finnish third line, after they use up Patrik Laine and his Florida Panthers linemates, follow up with Leo Komarov and his two NHL linemates, they have an exciting line of Sebastian Aho, Jarno Koskiranta and Mika Pyorala. Aho, the Carolina Hurricanes prospect was the centre between Laine and Puljujärvi at the world juniors. His older and wiser linemates make for an interesting counter to the Russian three line steamroller.

Komarov, well known as a pest and an agitator might be expected to get under the skins of the Russian players, and his former KHL coach Oleg Znarok who is coaching the Russians. The Finnish press asked him if he had any plans to do that.

"Oh, I do not know, I'm a scorer nowadays," Komarov says with a twinkle in his eye.

The Finnish secret weapon in this game has to be goalie Mikko Koskinen who knows that magic third line of Russia very well.

It's set to be quite the battle.

When that one is settled, Morgan Rielly and Canada, with only one loss in the tournament, take on their favourite neighbour, and giant slayer, the USA and Auston Matthews.

Canada cruised over the Swedes in their quarterfinal, while the USA played a nail biter of a game that was stolen by Matthews and goalie Keith Kinkaid. The smart money will be on Canada to match what they did on opening day when they beat the USA 5-1 with Kinkaid in net.

The USA has grown up a lot since then, you do that fast when you're mostly under 25. Kinkaid is one of only four players on the team born in the eighties, and after his stunning victory over the Czechs, he might believe he can do it again.

Canada's huge weakness is their play in their own end and their play in general without the puck, except the penalty kill--it's superb. The Americans will have to win it at even strength, and they are not good enough on paper to do that. Of course, they aren't good enough on paper to even be in the semifinal.

This one is set to be Auston vs Goliath, and Canada would be advised to not be too smug.