The future of the NHL will be evident Monday night on NHL Network-U.S. and TSN during the semifinals of the 2011 World Junior Championship. The signature game is USA-Canada at 7:30 p.m. ET, while the puck drops for Russia-Sweden at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The tournament features some of the best under-20 players in the world, and in Monday's two games, there could be 27 first-round Entry Draft picks playing.
Russia will face Sweden. Russia pulled off the comeback of the tournament, led by Washington Capitals
2010 first-round pick Evgeni Kuznetsov. Trailing 3-1 with under 3 minutes to play, Kuznetsov and Los Angeles Kings
prospect Maxim Kitsyn
scored 2:03 apart to force overtime, and Kuznetsov won it at 6:44 of the extra session.
Sweden, which capped a perfect run through the preliminary round with a 6-5 shootout victory against Canada, is led by goaltender Robin Lehner
, who made his NHL debut with the Ottawa Senators
earlier this season. Nashville Predators
prospect Patrick Cehlin
leads the offense with 3 goals and 5 points.
Sweden also features defenseman Adam Larsson
, projected to be a top-five pick at the 2011 Entry Draft.
The second semifinal (7:30 p.m. ET) features a rematch of last year's gold-medal game between the U.S. and Canada.
Columbus Blue Jackets
prospect Ryan Johansen
keyed Canada's 4-1 quarterfinal win against Switzerland on Sunday with a goal and a team-high nine shots.
Canada forward Brayden Schenn
, who had 2 assists in eight games with the Los Angeles Kings
earlier this season, leads the tournament with 7 goals and 16 points. He's 2 points shy of tying Dale McCourt
's record for most points by a Canadian player in a single World Junior tournament.
Leading the way for the U.S. is goaltender Jack Campbell
. The Dallas Stars
2010 first-round pick stopped 88 of 92 shots in four preliminary-round games, and has tournament-bests of a 1.03 goals-against average and .956 save percentage.
Campbell also was in net for the U.S. when it defeated Canada 6-5 in overtime in Saskatoon for the Team USA's first WJC gold medal since 2004.
The winners of the two semifinals will play at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday in the gold-medal game. The losers will play for the bronze medal at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Both games today and Wednesday will be live on the NHL Network-U.S. and TSN.