Although it seemed that most of Canada wanted to see Team North America in the World Cup of Hockey semifinals, the Canadian squad will play its first elimination match against a familiar foe.
Historically, Russia and Canada hold one of the hottest rivalries Hockey. Before the semifinals on Saturday night, let's look at some of the best moments between the two hockey powers in the best-on-best tournament.
Hockey oldest rivalry has not been tested in the 2014 Sochi Olympics so we have to go back to the 2010 Games in Vancouver over the last meaningful matchup.
Confronted with a difficult quarterfinal match, the Canadians went ahead 4-1 in the 20th minute on the way to crush the Russian gold medal hopes for the quarterfinals with a 7-3 victory. The victory was a relief for Canada, which watched Mike Babcock police in fighting early in the tournament, including a preliminary loss against the United States.
Canada went on to win gold on Sidney Crosby's "golden goal" against the United States.
Canada fell to Russia 2-0 in the quarterfinals at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. (Don Emmert / Getty Images)
Longtime rivals also met in the quarterfinals in Turin, but it was the Russians who silenced the Canadian strong attack. Alexander Ovechkin broke a scoreless tie in the third period against Martin Brodeur before Alexei Kovalev added a late goal. Canadians seek a second straight Olympic gold, had no answer to the Russian netminder Evgeni Nabakov, who posted a shutout in a 2-0 victory.
The Russians eventually went on to finish fourth, falling to Finland 4-0 in the semifinals and 3-0 to the Czech Republic in the bronze medal game.
1987 Canada Cup
The Soviet Union took the first game of the series best-of-three at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton with a 6-5 victory. But Canada responded with a 6-5 victory of his own in the second game. In a thrilling deciding match, Canada went back from a 3-0 deficit before letting a 5-4 lead slip away. The tie game with the crowd on its feet, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux set up the winner with 1:26 remaining in the third period.
1987 - Honorable Mention
Although not technically the best on-best tournament in 1987 World Junior Championship provided perhaps the wildest scenes. Known as "The Punch-up in Piestany," the Russians and Canadians had a furious bench-clearing brawl in the second third of the tournament Czechoslovakia. Things are so out-of-hand that the referee actually left the ice and turned off the lights in the stadium. That did not stop the fight and both teams were ejected from the tournament.
1984 Canada Cup
The Soviet Union breezed through the round robin with a 5-0 record and had Canada on the verge of being eliminated in the semifinals. However, Doug Wilson scored late to tie the game 2-2 allowing Paul Coffey take. Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman broke two-on-one in overtime before his point shot was finished off with Mike Bossy for the winning goal, sending the crowd into a frenzy Calgary.
Canada swept Sweden in the best-of-three final to claim the title.
1981 Canada Cup
Unlike the year 1984 Canada Cup, Canada could not fight with the powerful Soviets, who were looking for revenge after losing the gold medal to the United States in the 1980 Olympics. Led by eventual tournament MVP Vladislav Tretiak in goal, the Soviet Union routed Canada 8-1 in the final in front of stunned Montreal crowd.
However, the Russians are forbidden to take the trophy home, a situation which almost caused a diplomatic incident between the two countries.
1972 Summit Series
Paul Henderson scored the winning goals in games 6, 7 and 8, helping Canada to pull an incredible comeback in the heart of the Cold War. Trailing 5-3 in the deciding game of 8 Canadians rallied to tie the game before the Henderson goal serially deciding to 34 seconds before the end.