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Habs prospects shine at WJC

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL -- Only a few games into the World Junior hockey championships and already Habs' prospects Louis Leblanc and Joonas Nattinen are proving to be valuable assets for their respective teams.

With wins over tough opponents in their first two matchups, it would appear that Team Canada is on an early roll.

After downing the talented Russian squad by a score of 6-3 on the opening day of the tournament, the Canadians were back at it again Tuesday afternoon with a matchup against the Czech Republic.

Team Canada’s Tuesday tilt started off in similar fashion to their game against the Russians, with the Canadians allowing the opposition to get off to an early lead; the Czechs scoring on their first shot of the game.

From that point on it was all Team Canada, with the boys in red and white demonstrated for the second time in as many games that their special teams are a force to be reckoned with. After potting three power-play goals against the Russians, the Canadians added another four in their contest versus the Czechs.

With the trend leaning towards lighting the lamp with the man-advantage, the Habs’ first round-draft pick, Louis Leblanc went a different route, scoring his team’s first short-handed goal of the tournament. Leblanc would go on to add a third period assist on a goal from Jared Cowen to give him three points so far in the tournament after having also picked up a helper against Russia.

With Leblanc’s short-hander added to the mix, special teams currently account for 8 of Canada’s 13 goals scored in the tournament. The Canadians also continue to live up to their reputation as a balanced team with an astonishing 11 members of Team Canada scoring over the course first two games.

Another Habs’ prospect making waves in the early stages of the tournament is center Joonas Nattinen, representing his home-country of Finland at the World Juniors. The 6’2”, 183 lbs Finn has scored in each of his country’s first two outings, most recently contributing a goal to their 4-0 win over the Swiss en route to being named the game's most valuable player.

Team Canada will look to build on their first two wins of the tournament as they get set to face off against Norway Wednesday evening. Nattinen and the rest of the Finnish troops will be gunning for a second straight win in their afternoon game against the Germans.

Justin Fragapane is a writer for

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