Given the roots of the World Cup of Hockey 2016, it is fitting that Team Canada and Team Russia should meet in a semifinal game. The international political implications may not be what they used to be, but the same element of national pride will be on the line.
Expect each team to pull out all the stops in an effort to advance to the best-of-3 final. Whether it's a key player who needs to assert himself in a decisive situation, or an overall strategy based on strengths and weaknesses, the underlying numbers can help foreshadow the most important moments.
Steven Stamkos of Team Canada is one of the NHL's most accurate shooters, but he's been shut out so far at the World Cup.
Stamkos has an NHL shooting percentage of 17.2 (312 goals on 1,818 shots), second among players active last season to Alex Tanguay (18.6 percent).
In Team Canada's six pretournament and preliminary-round games, Stamkos has not scored on 26 shots on goal; his shot total is second to teammate Patrice Bergeron, who has 30. For Stamkos to reach his NHL shooting percentage, he would need to score on each of his next six shots.
Video: EUR@CAN: 1st Period Highlights
Instead of a high shooting percentage, Team Russia captain Alex Ovechkin achieves his NHL success with a high volume of shots on goal.
Ovechkin has taken 4,228 shots in 839 NHL games, an average of 5.04 per game, and has led the League in shots in 10 of his 11 seasons. Based on that, Ovechkin would be expected to have taken 30 shots in Team Russia's six games; his total is 12.
There is an average of one shorthanded goal per every 6.5 NHL games. The first shorthanded goal of the World Cup wasn't scored until the third period of the 12th preliminary-round game, when Ryan McDonagh of Team USA beat Petr Mrazek of Team Czech Republic.
The scarcity of shorthanded goals is particularly notable for Team Canada, which has several superb penalty killers. Since the start of the 2013-14 NHL season, forward Brad Marchand leads the NHL with 11 shorthanded goals, followed by Jonathan Toews with nine. The top Team Russia player is Artem Anisimov, with five.
Video: Bobrovsky, Team Russia shuts out Finland, 3-0
Team Canada defenseman Drew Doughty has been one of the most outstanding players in the World Cup.
Through six games, last season's Norris Trophy winner leads Team Canada with an average of 15:44 of ice time per game at even strength, when it has outscored its opponents 11-2.
Doughty has six points in those six games, tying him with Shayne Gostisbehere of Team North America for the most among defensemen. Two forwards from Team North America, Johnny Gaudreau (nine points) and Nathan MacKinnon (seven), are the only players with more points than Doughty.
Value of the Vezina
It isn't unusual for teams that advance this far in a tournament to have gotten a boost from some exceptional goaltending, especially when they have former Vezina Trophy winners, like Carey Price of Team Canada and Sergei Bobrovsky of Team Russia, who won the award in 2015 and 2013.
Price and Bobrovsky have nearly identical statistics: 3-1-0 with on shutout and a save percentage of .938.
With a statistical tie in goaltending, the winner of this game figures to be whichever team can create more scoring chances, or get luckier.