2021 WJC GAME DAY THREAD: CANADA (5-0-0-0) vs. Russia (3-1-0-1)

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2021 WJC GAME DAY THREAD: CANADA (5-0-0-0) vs. Russia (3-1-0-1) JAN. 4th, 2021 6pm EST TSN

It’s now down to 4 teams at the 2021 World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta. USA will play Finland (9:30 pm TSN) in one semi-final matchup while Canada takes on Russia in the second semi-final game. These two teams met in a pre-tournament game and Canada took the 1-0 win on a 3rd period goal by Jamie Drysdale. Expect another close game tonight as Canada faces its toughest opponent in the tournament so far. The goaltending matchup will be a large part of tonight’s game as both teams feature highly capable goaltenders. Canada’s Devon Levi has a SV% of .967 and a GAA of 0.64 through his 5 starts and he has also posted two shutouts. Yaroslav Askarov has a SV% of .918 and a GAA of 2.22 through 4 games, although the Russians faced some tougher opponents on the Pool B side. 

Russia’s top 6 unit has put up 27 scoring points so far in the tournament, while the balance of their forward group has tallied 8 scoring points. The Canadian team has more depth throughout the lineup and all 13 of their forwards are first round NHL picks. Canada and Russia / Soviet Union teams have played 41 times since the World Junior Championship was started in 1977 and Canada has 20 wins, Russia 19 wins and there were two ties. The Canadian team did not have their best effort on Saturday vs. the Czech team, but still found a way to get a 3-0 victory. I look for Canada’s depth to be the difference tonight in a very close and exciting game and they will advance to the Gold Medal game on Tuesday. 

In the other semi-final game, I look for Finland to frustrate USA’s offence and defeat the Americans to set up a Canada –Finland Gold Medal game. The best four teams in the tournament have made it through to the final four so it should make for two very good hockey games tonight. Enjoy them both and GO CANADA!