BASEL, Switzerland -- Glenn Howard put his hands in his pockets, leaned against the window and enjoyed the conversation with friends and family after hopping on the tram outside St. Jakobshalle.
The Canadian skip had the evening off to relax knowing his spot in the gold-medal game was secure.
Howard defeated Scotland's Tom Brewster 7-6 in the Page playoff 1-versus-2 game on Saturday to advance straight to the final of the world men's curling championship.
The win gave Howard some extra down time before he goes for his fourth career world title on Sunday afternoon. Brewster, meanwhile, had to return to the ice in the evening for a must-win semifinal against Sweden's Sebastian Kraupp.
The Scot bounced back with a 7-6 victory to earn a rematch with Canada.
Both Howard and Brewster played a slow, defensive style over the first half of their game, waiting for an opportunity to pounce. Howard got his chance in the eighth end and took full advantage.
The veteran Ontario skip hit a triple takeout for four points and a 6-3 lead. Brewster answered with a pair in the ninth before stealing one in the 10th to tie it.
Howard had the hammer in the extra end and hit a draw to the four-foot to win it.
"Time and time again, he just doesn't make any big mistakes," said Canada lead Craig Savill. "He comes up with the big shot every game."
Canada shot 83 per cent on the day, down slightly from its percentage over the week. Scotland shot 80 per cent as a team.
"Let's be honest, they're a great side but we were pretty close to them out there today," Brewster said. "But for one end, we were probably the better team. We've just got to take heart from that."
Howard, Savill, second Brent Laing and third Wayne Middaugh have lost just once, a 9-7 defeat to New Zealand in a meaningless game on the final day of the round robin.
"We just wanted to get to the final, we've got ourselves there," Howard said. "Now hopefully we'll bring the A game tomorrow night."
The Canadians had some blowout wins and a few tight victories to join fellow curling heavyweights Scotland, Sweden and Norway in the playoffs. Howard has had a slight edge thanks to a knack for capitalizing on opportunities and avoiding the big mistake.
"You get a break and you try to run with it," Savill said. "That's what happened out here. We got a break in the eighth and we won."
An estimated 2,500 fans took in the 1-2 game with vocal pockets of supporters from both sides. There was much more energy in the 9,000-seat venue compared to earlier in the week.
Howard, who led all skips in the round robin with an 83 per cent shooting percentage, came through again with the game on the line.
"What sets him apart is obviously his talent," Laing said. "His consistency. He's consistently great. There's a whole bunch of skips who are consistently good. But Glenn is consistently great.
"His off-games are better than most guys' good games."
Earlier in the day, Sweden reached the semifinal with an 8-6 win over Norway's Thomas Ulsrud in the 3-versus-4 game.
"We had a really solid game and Thomas struggled a little bit in the beginning of the game," Kraupp said. "The break came in the third and fourth ends when we stole two. We played really well and kept it simple."
Kraupp filled in again for Niklas Edin, who has been hampered by a back injury for most of the week. Sweden will play Norway for the bronze medal on Sunday morning.
Howard, who won world titles 1987, 1993 and 2007, teamed with Laing, Savill and Richard Hart to win his last championship. Middaugh, who also won gold as a skip in 1998, joined the team prior to this season after Hart's retirement.
Howard, 49, still loves putting on the Canada shirt and playing for gold a quarter-century after winning his first world title.
"I don't care if you're playing tiddlywinks or you're playing ping-pong or curling, it's the world championship and it's just unbelievable," he said. "I still feel the same way.
"This is 25 years later, my fourth time, and I'm like a kid in a candy store running around here."