Gameday: U.S. Opens Men's Worlds Against Host Slovakia  05/10/2019 15:15:19 

The U.S. and Slovakia have met 10 previous times in the world championship. Team USA has won six of those contests, including the last meeting by a 6-1 count at the 2017 world championship in Cologne, Germany.

The IIHF world championship includes 16 teams, with two eight-team groups. The U.S. is in Group A along with Canada, Finland, Germany, Slovakia, Denmark, France and Great Britain.

Group B, which is being staged in Bratislava, Slovakia, includes Sweden, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Norway, Latvia, Austria and Italy.

The preliminary round is round-robin in each group for a total of seven total preliminary round games for each team. The top four finishers in each group play in the quarterfinals in a cross-over fashion (1A-4B, 2A-3B, 1B-4A, 2B-3A).

Team USA is coming off a bronze-medal finish in last year’s world championship and has medaled in three of the last six events, its best medal stretch in the world championship since the early 1950s.

Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks superstar and one of the best players in the world, is back for a second straight year as captain of Team USA, while Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild, who is playing in his 13 event on the international stage for the U.S. and Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings, who is competing in his fifth straight world championship, are serving as alternate captains. Kane led the world championship in points a year ago and became the first-ever U.S. player to be named MVP of the world championship.

Team USA is coached by Jeff Blashill. The head coach of the NHL's Detroit Red Wings is coaching the U.S. entry in the world championship for the third straight year. Blashill has guided the U.S. to 14 wins in 18 total games the past two years.

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