Remember two days ago, when Canada ran out to a 4-1 lead over Russia and people were wondering what in the world was happening to the Russian team and whether it could make good on its expected deep run at the 2017 World Juniors? Yeah, never mind.
Granted, Latvia isn't the most imposing opposition, but the Russians served notice that they won't be a pushover and face a very intriguing matchup with the United States tomorrow.
- Kirill Kaprizov (Wild) had a hat trick and two assists in Russia’s 9-1 demolition of Latvia in Toronto. Five Russians had multi-point nights, led by Kaprizov’s five and four apiece from Alexander Polunin and Mikhail Vorobyov (Flyers). Latvia, meanwhile, has now been outscored 15-2 in their two losses so far.
- It took overtime, but Switzerland opened their tournament with a win over the Czech Republic at the Bell Centre. Nico Hischier scored the winner and had two assists as the Swiss blew two separate two-goal leads in allowing the Czechs to tie the game with :16 seconds left. Joren van Pottelberghe (Red Wings) withstood a 36-shot barrage and two goals by Filip Chlapik (Senators) to earn the win.
- Meanwhile, Finland is in deep trouble and their title defense is in serious jeopardy. The Finns fell to 0-2 by losing 3-2 to Denmark in Montreal despite outshooting the Danes 36-10. That's right: three goals on ten shots. Ouch. A stick tap to Kasper Krug, the Danish goaltender who made 34 saves as Denmark got back on track after their loss to Sweden on Monday.
- Canada cruised to an easy win over Slovakia at the Air Canada Centre. The 5-0 whitewashing included goals from five different players, and Canes prospect Julien Gauthier earned his second assist in as many games. It was a shooting gallery for Canada, who outshot the Slovaks (this is not a typo) 44-6. Pour one out (nonalcoholic, of course) for Slovakia goalie Adam Huska, whose team gave him no chance.
Today at the WJHC:
- Sweden vs. Switzerland: 5:00 p.m. ET, Bell Centre
- United States vs. Slovakia: 7:30 p.m. ET, Air Canada Centre
Both games are available on NHL Network in the United States.