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The Americans now will be the No. 1 seed in the quarterfinal round after the Swedes beat Finland late Sunday, and will have two days off before facing the winner of Tuesday’s Belarus-Switzerland match.

Regardless of which team the U.S. plays when the puck drops at 3 p.m. ET Wednesday, the Americans will be heavy favorites to advance to Friday’s semifinal round, which would give the team a chance to claim a medal with just one win in one of their final two contests. Just as important, the Americans would also avoid playing the two pre-tournament favorites from Canada or Russia until Sunday’s gold-medal game should they advance that far.

For the stunned hosts, their road becomes a lot more difficult, as instead of a day off, they will have to face Germany on Tuesday, and need to win four straight games to take home the gold - not to mentioning drawing more skilled opponents as the No. 6 seed in the tournament. While their gold-medal dreams weren’t dashed with the defeat, they certainly will be a much more tired team when they will play a well-rested Russian squad Wednesday should they dispatch the Germans.

It also just adds to the massive burden on the hosts, as Canadian fans are expecting gold or bust for this collection of All-Stars playing on home ice, including three players who have won the Hart Trophy for the NHL’s most valuable player.

The group finishes the preliminary round with just one win in regulation which came Tuesday over winless Norway. The spotlight is also bright on Brodeur, the future Hall-of-Famer and the NHL’s all-time leader in wins, but who has been very pedestrian in his two Olympic starts despite his impressive pedigree. Hometown favorite Roberto Luongo was stellar in Canada’s opener, but the Canucks netminder has been sitting on the bench as Brodeur has allowed six goals in two games — but could be in net the next time Canada takes the ice.

But, on this night just 30 miles north of the U.S. border, it was a great moment for American hockey, as they will now try to use their solid start to see if they can capture their second medal in eight years as the quarterfinals begin Wednesday and perhaps make the year 2010 special for more than observing past victories.