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Canada holds off Russia to win gold at WJC

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 12:53 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Canada and Russia scripted yet another wild and unexpected chapter in their storied rivalry before a packed house at Air Canada Centre in the gold-medal game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship on Monday.

The Canadians triggered a celebration five years in the making following a 5-4 victory to earn its 16th gold medal in the country's history and first since 2009 at this tournament.

After spotting Canada a four-goal lead, Russia pulled within one with three unanswered goals in a span of 3:16 in the second period.

But Canada would not be denied.

"To be on top with the gold medal is absolutely amazing; it's something I've always dreamed of," Canada defenseman Josh Morrissey said. "There were some pretty tense moments for the fans and I'm sure for the viewers at home. It was one of the more crazy games I've ever been a part of, but that's junior hockey.

"It's so exciting. [Coach Benoit Groulx] was able to calm us down and we did our job after that."

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Canada's Fucale comes up big in third to win gold

Tuesday, 01.06.2015 / 12:22 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- History will show Canada goalie Zachary Fucale shut the door on Russia in a 5-4 win in the gold-medal game of the IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

Fucale made 11 saves in the third period to help Canada protect a one-goal lead. Overall, Russia out-shot Canada 30-21.

But the Montreal Canadiens' prospect opted to share the credit.

"I am pretty happy we were here in Canada with our fans," Fucale said. "You guys don't know how much the fans helped us. From the start of the tournament until now, they supported us and we owe them a huge thank you for that."

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Slovakia defeats Sweden to take bronze medal at WJC

Monday, 01.05.2015 / 7:28 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Slovakia won its second-ever medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship with a 4-2 victory against Sweden in the bronze-medal game at Air Canada Centre on Monday.

Slovakia also won a bronze medal in 1999.

Each team managed 28 shots on goal, but it was Slovakian goaltender Denis Godla, as he has done so often during the WJC, who stole the spotlight. Undrafted last year, Godla is eligible for 2015 NHL Draft.

Speaking through an interpreter, Godka said winning the bronze medal didn't mean as much to him personally as it does to hockey in Slovakia.

"It is a wonderful feeling," Godka said. "It is almost indescribable for all Slovakians. The Swedish team seemed to be disappointed from losing Sunday (4-1 against Russia) and we wanted to win more than they did."

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Fantasy All-Access: Predators' Wilson a commodity

Matt Sitkoff - NHL.com Contributor

The Pittsburgh Penguins made a big move to acquire left wing David Perron, who scored a goal in his first game while playing on a line with Sidney Crosby and Steve Downie. We already broke down that he is a must-own in all formats, but will this move open up more trades as we inch closer to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 2?

The Bruins could be the next team to trade for a forward as they have not replaced Jarome Iginla on David Krejci's line. Whoever fills in that role will see his fantasy value rise and also could boost Krejci's numbers.

Keep an eye on potential sellers like the Carolina Hurricanes, Edmonton Oilers and Arizona Coyotes. As they move players it could open spots for new fantasy options.

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Canada, Russia ready to play for gold again at WJC

Monday, 01.05.2015 / 12:49 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Canada will play Russia in the gold-medal game of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NHLN-US). It's the 14th time in tournament history those teams have met in the WJC title game, and the eighth time since 1996.

Russia beat Sweden 4-1 in its semifinal Sunday while Canada beat Slovakia 5-1.

"It's special," Canada defenseman Joshua Morrissey said. "Canada and Russia; it's one of those great rivalries in hockey. It's always very intense. Hearing the fans chant 'Canada' and 'We want Russia' in the end was pretty cool. It's pretty inspiring."

Canada holds a 7-6 lead in the championship-round games. Russia, however, has defeated Canada in the playoff round at the past four tournaments, including the bronze-medal game in 2013 and 2014.

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Petan's three goals lead Canada to gold-medal game

Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 11:38 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- Canada will play for the gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship for the first time in four years after a 5-1 win against Slovakia at Air Canada Centre on Sunday.

Canada will play Russia on Monday in Toronto for the gold medal (8 p.m. ET, NHLN-US). Sweden and Slovakia will play for the bronze medal at 4 p.m. on Monday.

Nicolas Petan (Winnipeg Jets), who was placed on a line with Canada captain Curtis Lazar (Ottawa Senators) and Connor McDavid (draft-eligible 2015) midway through the game, led Canada with three goals.
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Russia defeats Sweden to advance to WJC final

Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 6:37 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Russia forward Alexander Sharov scored two goals and Igor Shesterkin made 26 saves to lead Russia to a 4-1 victory against Sweden in the semifinal round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Sunday.

The victory assures Russia a third appearance in the gold medal game in the past five years. It last won gold at the 2011 WJC in Buffalo following a five-goal third period that led to a 5-3 victory against Canada. It was the country's first gold medal-winning effort since 2003 in Halifax and Sydney, Canada.

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Five Blackhawks excited, honored to be all-stars

Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 4:11 PM / 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Those outside the Chicago Blackhawks' locker room might be rolling their eyes about the outcome of the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote presented by SiriusXM, but those on the inside are all smiles.

The Blackhawks, who took five of the first six spots for the 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game in Columbus, are thrilled with the outcome. After top vote-getter Zemgus Girgensons of the Buffalo Sabres, the next five spots were all Chicago players.

"When the balloting started there, we seemed to come out of the gate very strong; picked up some momentum along the way," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Good for the guys. Organizationally, it should be proud of the representation we’re going to have at the All-Star Game. It’s one of those days [when] it’s fun for the game [and] fun for the League."

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Quote of the Day

It's very special, obviously; there is draft day and then there's the day that you sign your first deal. It's been a crazy couple of weeks and I'm very honored to be able to do that."

— Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid on signing his first professional contract