TV: TSN | Radio: TSN Radio | Stream: TSN Direct
Even if it’s pre-tournament, is there anything better than Canada vs.
Russia at the IIHF World Junior Championship? The COVID-19 pandemic has
wreaked havoc on the schedule once again, but one thing remains – hockey’s
greatest rivalry is part of the Lordco Road to the World Juniors.
It was a semifinal showdown in Edmonton almost a year ago, and it was all
Canada. Alex Newhook got the scoring started just 59 seconds in, Connor
McMichael and Cole Perfetti added goals before the end of the first period
the Canadians rolled to a 5-0 win to book a spot in the gold medal game.
Devon Levi made 28 saves to record his third shutout of the tournament (and
second in a row in the playoff round), tying Justin Pogge (2006) for the
most ever by a goaltender at a single World Juniors. He also blanked Russia
1-0 pre-tournament win.
HERE WE GO AGAIN
The Canadians return three players from their silver medal-winning entry in
2021 – goaltender Dylan Garand, defenceman Kaiden Guhle and Perfetti –
while the Russians have four players back – forward Vasili Ponomaryov,
defencemen Kirill Kirsanov and Shakir Mukhamadullin, and goaltender
WHAT TO WATCH
After just a handful of practices together, the Lordco Road to the World
Juniors will be an opportunity for the Canadian coaches to see line
combinations in game action. Based on the units that were together in
Banff, expect to see Perfetti and 17-year-old Shane Wright anchor the top
line, and an all-WHL trio of Jake Neighbours, Ridly Greig and Justin
Sourdif playing a checking role. And what about Connor Bedard? Just the
seventh 16-year-old to crack the Team Canada roster, Bedard skated as the
13th forward in Banff but has the skill-set to slot in up and down the
For the Russians, Askarov is the X-factor. The netminder is back for his
third World Juniors (just the second Russian goaltender to accomplish that,
joining Yevgeni Belosheikin – 1984-86) and looks to add a gold medal to the
silver he won in 2020. Askarov has the ability to steal games for his team
gold medal game at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup is a perfect example) and should be in the conversation for Top Goaltender
and tournament all-star honours.
NEXT STOP, NHL?
This game will be littered with NHL prospects. The Canadian roster includes
12 first-round picks, including 2021 top selection Owen Power (Buffalo),
the first to play for Team Canada after he was taken No. 1 since Ryan
Nugent-Hopkins in 2013. And don’t forget Wright and Bedard, who should hear
their names called very early in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
The Russians have two first-round selections from the 2020 draft – Askarov
(11th overall, Nashville) and Shakhir Mukhamadullin (20th overall, New
Jersey) – and one from 2021 – Fedor Svechkov (19th overall, Nashville) –
among their 12 draftees, and 2021 U18 worlds standout Matvey Michkov, who
just turned 17 on Dec. 9, should be one of the first players of the board
A LOOK BACK
Is there a more historic rivalry at the World Juniors than this one?
Counting the Soviet Union years (and one match-up as the Commonwealth of
Independent States after the dissolution of the USSR in 1992), the
Canadians and Russians have met 42 times (not including pre-tournament
play) since the first World Juniors in 1977, with the results split right
down the middle.
All-time record: Tied 20-20-2 (Russia leads 3-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 158
Russia goals: 144