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World Championship update: Eichel, O’Reilly advance, Girgensons out

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Three Sabres players have advanced to the playoff round.

NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs at Buffalo Sabres Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 IIHF World Championships are finally through the round robin stage, and the playoff games begin today. Of the four members of the Buffalo Sabres organization participating in the tournament, three are moving on to playoff action.

Jack Eichel and Cal Petersen are part of the Team USA squad that finished first in Group A, and will face Finland today at 10:15am ET in the quarterfinals. After losing their opening contest, the ‘Mericans have rattled off six wins in a row, and the team of youngsters are looking strong heading to the knockout round.

Eichel has yet to score a goal, but he does have five assists in his seven games, and leads the team with 30 shots. Cal Petersen, meanwhlie, has yet to get a start in net, and likely won’t get that shot at all now that the playoffs here.

Team Canada and Ryan O’Reilly also finished #1 in their Group, and will face Germany at 2:15pm ET today. ROR is second on Team Canada with four goals, and has earned himself a Player of the Game award in his team’s win over France last week.

For those keeping track of potential free agents, defenseman Viktor Antipin and Team Russia also advanced, and will play the Czech Republic later today.

All games can be streamed on nbcsports.com.

The one Sabre who didn’t make it past the opening round was Zemgus Girgensons, as Team Latvia was sent home in heartbreaking fashion, giving up the game-winning goal to the Germans yesterday with 33 seconds left. Sorry, Zems.

Should the playoff bracket go chalk, we could be down for another final between the USA and Canada this weekend, which would pit Eichel and the youngsters of the US against O’Reilly and the veteran experience of the Canadians.