The 2020 World Junior Championship continued today in Czech Republic with three games featuring a Devils immediate connection and one to the team’s past.
We begin in Group A with Sweden and Kazakhstan. Sweden won this one 6-2 at the Werk Arena to win yet another preliminary round game at the WJC.
Nikola Pasic had an assist and a shot on goal in 14:18 of total ice time.
The Swedes scored at the 15:12 mark of the first to break the scoreless tie when Samuel Fagemo scored. In the second, they scored early and often starting when Fagemo notched his second on the power play at 2:37 in to give them a 2-0 lead. Linus Oberg scored at 4:08 to make it 3-0 and the Swedes were off to the races.
Nils Hoglander scored on the power play at 7:40 to make it 4-0 then Jonatan Berggren scored another Swedish power play goal at 10:57 to make it 5-0. Pasic had his assist, the secondary, on this goal.
The Kazakhs broke the shutout when Oleg Boiko scored at 11:38 unassisted to make it 5-1. But the Swedes got that one back at 11:13 of the third when Lucas Raymond scored to make it 6-1.
Maxim Musorov scored with just over six minutes to go in the game to make it 6-2 but it was too little too late for Kazakhstan.
Swedish goaltender Jesper Eliasson got 17 of the 19 Kazakhstan shots while Vladislav Nurek got 29 of the 35 shot barrage from the Swedes.
Sweden next plays tomorrow night against the Slovaks while Kazakhstan is done with prelim play and will be likely playing int the relegation series against the last place finisher of Group B. The Kazakhs finished without a win or a point and had seven goals for and 21 against.
Staying in Group A, Switzerland took on Slovakia. Akira Schmid again did not dress for the Swiss, with Luca Hollenstein and Stephane Charlin getting the goaltending duties. The Swiss won 7-2 and will next play against Finland tomorrow to finish off their group play.
In the final game featuring Devils’ prospects, Canada took on Germany in Group B at the Ostravar Arena. Ty Smith finished the game with a plus-1 rating in the Canadians’ 4-1 win. He had 19:41 of total ice time to finish second among Canadian defensemen behind only Bowen Byram (who tallied 20:54 of total ice).
Kevin Bahl had an assist and two total shots on goal and a plus-2 plus/minus in 15:24 time on ice.
Nolan Foote got Canada on the board first at 11:50 of the first period (Bahl with the lone assist).
In the second period, Liam Foudy took a tripping penalty 6:52 into the frame and then redeemed himself at 12:24 when he scored from Ty Dellandrea and Jared McIsaac to make it 2-0 Canada.
Calen Addison scored on the power play at 14:01 with Germany’s Dennis Lobach in the box for slashing. Foote and Dyaln Cozens had the assists on the goal that made it 3-0.
Germany would get on the board at 58:53 when Yannik Valenti scored from Tim Stutzle and Justin Schutz. Canada’s Jacob Bernard-Docker had taken a four-minute double minor for a high-stick.
So, with that, Germany pulled goalie Hendrik Hane with 30 seconds to go for the extra attacker. Dellandrea scored into the empty net (assists to Foudy and McIsaac) with ten seconds to go in the game to make it 4-1 and ice the game for Canada.
Canada goalie Joel Hofer made 22 stops on 26 saves. Canada had 20 shots on goal (including the one into the empty net) and Hane made 18 saves on the night.
Canada plays their final group round game against the Czech Republic tomorrow. Germany has Russia to finish out their Group B schedule.
The Canadian win set up an interesting must-win for the US against the Czechs. Patrik Elias is serving as an assistant coach with the Czechs and they were facing off with the Americans.
The Americans needed a win to finish no worse than second in the group and they got it.
The Czechs had a goal waved off with 13:02 left in the third period while down 3-2 and on the power play. The goal was called good on the ice, but review showed goalie interference and when the Czechs used their coach’s challenge, that upheld the decision that it was no goal. However, on the same power play, which continued after the goal was called back, the Czechs tied the game up.
Once regulation expired, it only took 3:14 into the five-minue three-on-three OT for Alex Turcotte to made a beautiful pass and Cole Caufield to finish for the US to win 4-3.
The Americans end group play with two wins and an overtime win against one loss for eight points. They had 17 goals for and 13 against for a plus-4 goal differential. As noted, they can finish no lower than second, but Canada can still win the group with a victory tomorrow. The Canadians do hold the tie-breaker over the Americans due to the head-to-head win they got over them in group play.
We will keep you posted as the group play wraps up in the World Juniors and we head on to the medal round.
In other Devils related news, Kyle Palmieri will be going to the All-Star Game in January in St. Louis as the Devils’ representative. It will be Palmieri’s second trip to the All-Star Game as he also represented the Devils last season in San Jose, subbing for an injured Taylor Hall.
There is also the NHL All-Star Last Men In voting to get one more player for each Division. All teams are represented in the ballot and it is basically a fan vote to get the final player for each Divisional team. We will see if the Devils will join St. Louis Blues, the Boston Bruins, the Tornoto Maple Leafs, the Calgary Flames, the Edmonton Oilers, the Winnipeg Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets as teams with two players representing them in the All-Star Game.
Congratulations to Palms on this honor and here’s hoping he showcases his scoring touch in St. Louis next month.