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Features

Lazar's smile, skills has WJC gold in reach for Canada

Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 12:00 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike Brophy - NHL.com Correspondent

TORONTO -- It's a smile that lights up and energizes a nation.

Curtis Lazar's ever-present grin has been the backdrop for a team trying to win Canada's first gold medal at the IIHF World Junior Championship since 2009.

Lazar (Ottawa Senators) is Canada's captain and leader. In a pressure-packed event where the host country is expected to succeed, he has drawn on his experience from a year ago, when Canada finished fourth after losing 2-1 to Russia in the bronze-medal game. That loss came two days after a 5-1 loss to Finland in the semifinal.

He had three goals and seven points in Malmo, Sweden, at the 2014 WJC, but Lazar knew it would be different playing the 2015 WJC in Canada in front of family and friends, not to mention a hockey-mad nation that expects nothing less than gold.

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Sweden, Russia, Canada, Slovakia set for WJC semis

Saturday, 01.03.2015 / 11:28 AM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Sweden, Russia, Canada and Slovakia are the final four teams left at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, and they'll play in the semifinals Sunday at Air Canada Centre.

Sweden, who won the silver medal at the 2014 WJC, plays Russia, the 2014 bronze medalists, in one semifinal; Canada faces Slovakia in the second game.

The survivors will meet in the gold-medal game in Toronto on Monday at 8 p.m. ET. The bronze-medal game is Monday at 4 p.m. ET.

Canada is making its 17th consecutive appearance in the tournament semifinals, Sweden is making its ninth straight appearance and Russia is in the final four for the fifth straight time. Slovakia, which has finished no higher than sixth (2012) the past five years at the WJC, last earned a semifinal berth in 2009.

A new champion is guaranteed this year since Finland, the 2014 gold medalist, lost 6-3 to Sweden on Friday in the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinal games saw Canada beat Denmark 8-0; Russia defeat the United States 3-2; and Slovakia defeat the Czech Republic 3-0.

Here is a closer look at the semifinal games:

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Canada cruises past Denmark to reach WJC semifinal

Friday, 01.02.2015 / 11:55 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Mike G. Morreale - NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Captain Curtis Lazar had two goals and an assist, and goaltender Zachary Fucale made 14 saves to lead Canada to an 8-0 victory against Denmark in the quarterfinal round of the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship at Air Canada Centre on Friday.

Canada will play Slovakia on Sunday in a semifinal in Toronto at 8 p.m. ET. Canada defeated Slovakia 8-0 in the preliminary round on Dec. 26.

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Slovakia shuts out rival Czech Republic at WJC

Friday, 01.02.2015 / 10:50 PM / 2015 World Junior Championship

Sean Farrell - NHL.com Correspondent

MONTREAL -- Slovakia picked an opportune moment at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship to finally get the better of its historical rivals.

Goaltender Denis Godla made 34 saves to send Slovakia to a 3-0 shutout win against the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals of the WJC at Bell Centre on Friday.

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Penguins acquire Perron to boost top-six group

Friday, 01.02.2015 / 7:03 PM / NHL Insider

Wes Crosby - NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has been attempting to acquire a top-six forward since the first month of the season. He found one in David Perron.

The Penguins traded forward Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft on Friday to the Edmonton Oilers for Perron, who led Edmonton with 28 goals last season. Perron will enter Pittsburgh's top-six forward group, which has been decimated by injury and illness the past two months.

"We were finally in position so that we could find a guy who could come in, help our forwards, give us more depth up front," Rutherford said. "He can play both wings comfortably. He's a right shot. He likes to play the left side, but based on our injury situation, we suspect he would start on the right side with us until we get our full team back, but we're very pleased we could make this addition today."

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Quote of the Day

I'm very excited about what happened today. We've worked on this deal with Toronto for a month, or over a month. It got a little bit of legs on draft day, but it really heated up last night, and we were able to complete the deal today.

— Penguins GM Jim Rutherford on Phil Kessel, who he acquired from the Maple Leafs in a trade on Wednesday