Both Team Canada and Team USA have exhibition contests tonight prior to the World Junior Championships starting on December 26th. A couple things to watch for…
Team USA will make a few final cuts tonight following their pre-competition game tonight at 7PM against Switzerland. The game in Oshawa is the second to last of Team USA's pre-competition games, with their last coming on Friday, December 23rd against the Czech Republic. The tweet below mentions that Luke Kunin, Charlie McAvoy, Caleb Jones, Troy Terry and JD Greenway will sit this one out, meaning they are more than likely to be on the roster after this evening.
Lastly, Team USA named their leadership group, with Luke Kunin acting as the teams captain, and Colin White and Charlie McAvoy serving as alternates.
Team Canada will face-off tonight against the Czech Republic at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, with their final pre-tournament contest coming Friday against Switzerland.
Team Canada was solid in a 5-0 victory over Finland on Monday in Montreal, with Carter Hart picking up a 25-save shutout and Tyson Jost adding two goals. Be on the lookout for Jost to be a difference maker in this tournament, and don't discount the level of competition that he has played against in his freshman season at the University of North Dakota. Every game in the NCHC is a dog-fight and he should able to match the competition level of the World Juniors fairly easily. His line with Carolina prospects Julien Gauthier and Nicolas Roy will be integral to the teams success at the tournament.
Here is a look at Team Canada's lines for tonight's game against the Czech's. It looks like Kamloops' Connor Ingram will be in net tonight.
Like the USA, Team Canada also named their leadership group for the tournament, with Dylan Strome acting as the teams captain and Mathew Barzal and Thomas Chabot joining him as alternates.
Tuesday Night's NHL Wrap-Up
Boston was defeated by the New York Islanders on another busy night of NHL action, but the game did produce the first NHL goal for Anton Blidh, a 2013 sixth-round pick who was playing in just his seventh NHL game. The Frölunda product is a bottom-six winger who has been playing around 10 minutes per game in his limited contests with the Bruins, so any scoring is a bonus. Congrats to Anton!
The Viktor Arvidsson train continues rolling with three assists last night in a Nashville victory over New Jersey. The three points bring him to 23 in 32 games, leading the Predators, and good for a 2.7 points per/60 minutes rate. Arvidsson has not been shy about putting pucks on net this season ranking 16th in the NHL with 103 shots on goal in 2016-17. Given that he is an RFA following this season, the 23 year old will be making some money in the summer if this pace keeps up.
A couple of young Rangers registered points in New York's embarassing loss 7-2 to Pittsburgh last night. Matt Puempel scored the first goal of the game for the Blue Shirts, his second of the season, and fellow prospect Marek Hrivik picked up the primary assist. The assist was Hrivik's second point at the NHL level in 14 career games. Puempel was claimed off waivers by New York earlier this season from Ottawa, and Hrivik is an undrafted winger who has played in 282 games at the American Hockey League level.
A couple of players with World Junior ties scored last night in the Detroit-Tampa Bay game, with Brayden Point scoring his third goal of the season, and Anthony Mantha scoring the Red Wings lone goal in a 4-1 loss. Point has been been receiving a ton of ice time in the last couple contests, and has not disappointed with three points in his last two games. It could be a good time to look at jumping on the youngsters bandwagon, as he is showing signs of putting things together in his rookie season. It's only a matter of time till his shooting percentage rises, given he has taken 61 shots in 33 games, and only has three goals on the season thus far to show for it.
On the flip side, Wings prospect Nick Jensen, who was playing in just his second NHL game had an interesting evening. He picked up his first NHL point with an assist on Mantha's aformentioned goal, but was also involved in plays that injured not one, but both starting goaltenders. His wrister that went wide of the net on the rush appeared to injure Ben Bishop when he pushed out to make a potential save, and then later in the evening, he fell on his own goaltender in a scramble in front of the net, that caused teammate Jimmy Howard to leave the contest. Looks like both goaltenders could be out a decent amount of time.
Just a couple games on the NHL slate tonight:
Washington at Philadelphia – 8:00 PM ET
Edmonton at Arizona – 9:30 PM ET
Hope everyone has a great holiday season!
Give Kevin a follow @kleblanchockey for NHL prospect talk and happenings.