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World Cup of Hockey: Team Finland vs. Team Sweden preview, game thread, lines and how to watch

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Apologies to those expecting a Pekka Rinne vs. Jacob Markstrom showdown.

World Cup Of Hockey 2016 - Team Sweden Practice
The net belongs to Henrik Lundqvist in today’s matinee.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Group B kicks off today’s World Cup of Hockey action, with a matinee between age-old rivals Finland and Sweden.

The Swedes, wielding perhaps the tournament’s best blueline, bested Russia 2-1 on Sept. 18. Despite posting a stellar .964 Sv% on Sunday, Swedish goaltender Jacob Markstrom will sit this afternoon in favour of Henrik Lundqvist. Seemingly recovered from his bout with the flu, the 34-year-old Lundqvist brings experience far beyond that of Markstrom, age 26.

Short tournaments are funny things though, and goaltenders doubly so. Team Sweden head coach Rickard Gronborg would have at least thought of sticking with the hot hand in Markstrom. Going to Lundqvist was the easy answer; there’s no guarantee it’ll be the right one.

Meanwhile, Team Finland turns to Tuukka Rask between the pipes. Yes, Finland’s defence sometimes left him out to dry during their 4-1 loss to Team North America, but Pekka Rinne did himself no favours with poor tracking and a tendency towards swimming in the crease. The only Group B team without a win, Finland will need better across the board if they're to pull even in this round-robin.

When/Where:

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2:00 p.m. CT, Air Canada Centre
TV Broadcast: ESPN, SN, TVA Sports
Live Stream: WatchESPN, NHL Live

Team Sweden Projected Lineup
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Daniel Sedin
Henrik Sedin Loui Eriksson
Filip Forsberg Nicklas Backstrom Patric Hornqvist
Carl Hagelin Marcus Kruger Jakob Silfverberg
Gabriel Landeskog Mikael Backlund Carl Soderberg
Left Defence
Right Defence
Anton Stralman Victor Hedman
Mattias Ekholm Erik Karlsson
Niklas Hjalmarsson Oliver Ekman-Larsson
Goaltenders
Henrik Lundqvist
Jacob Markstrom

Team Finland Projected Lineup
Left Wing Centre Right Wing
Patrik Laine
Aleksander Barkov Sebastian Aho
Mikael Granlund Mikko Koivu Joonas Donskoi
Leo Komarov Valtteri Filppula Jussi Jokinen
Lauri Korpikoski Jori Lehtera Teuvo Teravainen
Left Defence
Right Defence
Sami Lepisto Rasmus Ristolainen
Olli Maatta Sami Vatanen
Jyrki Jokipakka Ville Pokka
Goaltenders
Tuukka Rask
Pekka Rinne

Patrik Laine played 15:48 against Team North America, posting two shots and zero points. If it's any consolation, those two shots were more than either of his linemates managed. The trio of Laine-Barkov-Aho is the most offensively talented line Finland has; if they aren’t producing, Finland’s chances don’t look great.

Aside from Rinne for Rask, the Finns look to have replaced Erik Haula and Esa Lindell for Teuvo Teravainen and Jyrki Jokipakka, respectively. Erik Haula had a respectable 2015-16 with the Minnesota Wild, with 14 goals and 34 points, but Teravainen constitutes an upgrade in terms of skill and creativity. The opposite is true when it comes to Finland’s Lindell-for-Jokipakka swap, but on a d-corps bereft of stars, it may simply be a rearranging of the Titanic’s deck chairs.

Tweet of the Day:

Who are you cheering for this afternoon? Do you believe going with Henrik Lundqvist was the right decision for Sweden? What’s your take on Laine’s tournament thus far? And is Jyrki Jokipakka a great name, or the best name in hockey? As the game is played, turn the comments section below into your stream of consciousness, and as always, thanks for reading!