The Montreal Canadiens have sent three of their prospects to the World Juniors this year and all of them will be in action today.
Keiden Guhle, the Habs first round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, and Team Canada will be taking on Germany as they look to improve their record to 3-0 and maintain their spot atop their group standings.
Canada completely annihilated Austria yesterday, finishing the game with an 11-2 edge and Guhle added his first point of the tournament. Canada opened the tournament with a 6-3 win over Czechia on December 26th and will be heavily favoured against Germany today. The German team has competed well so far, losing 3-1 to Finland on opening day and beating Czechia 2-1 in overtime on Monday.
Speaking of Czechia and Finland, they will face off against each other this afternoon. Czechia is a disappointing 0-1-1 after two games. Though it would have been predicted that they lose to Canada on opening day, an overtime loss to Germany puts a dagger in their medal hopes as they will now have to try to beat a tough Finnish team to avoid finishing fourth in their group and facing off against the top ranked team from Group B in the quarterfinals.
Czechia features Canadiens second round pick Jan Mysak. He scored their lone goal in that loss to Germany and centres the team’s top line. They will need a big performance out of him today as they try to defeat Finland.
Competing for Finland is Oliver Kapanen, another Canadiens second round pick. He will be centering Finland’s second line and playing more of a shutdown role. He has been held scoreless so far in Finland’s two wins over Austria and Germany.
A win today would put Finland in line to battle Canada on New Year’s Eve for first place in their Group. A win for Czechia would put them back in the hunt for second in the group standings, but they would need a little help along the way.
Czechia is a better team than their record would suggest. They will need to show up and play at their best level if they are going to have any chance to beat Finland today.
Finland and Czechia will face off at 2:00 PM EST while Canada takes on Germany at 7:00 PM EST.