Canadiens: 24 Thoughts on Owen Beck and Team Canada's Tournament Opening Win vs Finland

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Owen Beck and Team Canada opened their World Juniors in Gothenburg versus Team Finland in their first of four round-robin games. Expectations are as high as ever for Canada, with back-to-back gold medals to defend and no home ice this time around. And Finland is no easy opponent to open up the tournament.

As for Beck, he is the only returning member for Team Canada after joining the squad late last year as an injury replacement. He may be centring the “fourth line,” but he is wearing an A for a reason. He’ll play a significant role for the Canadians at this tournament, a role he’ll also potentially play for the Canadiens in the NHL someday.

Having watched it live from Gothenburg, here are 24 thoughts on Beck and Team Canada’s first game of the World Juniors.

First Period Thoughts

Canada started the game down a man pretty quickly as Beck took a boarding penalty. It's not the kind of start you want to have, especially against a good Finland squad. Discipline will be key, especially in the IIHF, where the whistles are usually a little tighter. Beck unfortunately learned that the hard way, but I can’t fault him for trying to set the tone on his first shift.

Canada is already down two defensemen after Tanner Molendyk (NSH) and Tristan Luneau (ANA) both had to leave the roster with injuries. Jorian Donovan (OTT) and Ty Nelson (SEA) were added to the roster to replace them. Defence already looks like it won’t be a strength for this team, and losing Luneau and Molendyk hurts.

Speaking of which, the defence looked pretty suspect when Lenni Hämeenaho (NJD) walked through the defence with a nifty move, with his backhander just wide. I had a great angle of it from my seat; Jake Furlong (SJS) is still looking for his jockstrap. Canada can’t afford to give up many chances like that.

I found the ice wasn’t very good in this game, particularly early on. Players were slipping, the puck was bouncing like crazy, and it seemed to settle down a little, but it definitely played a role in the game. It created a 2-on-0 for Finland that forced Mathis Rousseau to make a tremendous stop. The defender slipped, and it quickly became a disaster for Canada, before Rousseau bailed him out.

Goaltending has been a question mark for Canada far too often for quite some time. Usually, they figure it out, but not until the tournament begins. There is always a concern, with there seldomly ever being a clear-cut number one. Aside from that save, Rousseau had a quiet first period, but that sensational save definitely silenced some doubters.

He’s not playing much, but Macklin Celebrini looks like a first overall calibre player. The puck just follows him, and the skill is clearly there. He’ll likely play his way into a top-six role when it’s all said and done.

Owen Beck and the “fourth line” open the scoring for Canada, as Nate Danielson (DET) has the puck deflect off him into the net. This line only played about three minutes in the first, but it was a noticeable three minutes.