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Time to drop the puck

Tomas Plekanec, Jakub Jerabek and Andreas Martinsen are set to compete in the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship in France and Germany

by Montreal Canadiens @canadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - While Tomas Plekanec and Jakub Jerabek begin their World Hockey Championship quest on Friday, Andreas Martinsen will have to wait until Saturday to get started.

The Czech Republic will be in tough in their preliminary round tournament opener, as they battle two-time defending champion Canada at AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

Plekanec is making his 10th appearance at the annual event, where he's chipped in to the tune of 19 goals, 41 points and a plus-12 differential in 57 games over the years. The 34-year-old centerman helped his country claim silver in 2006 and bronze in both 2011 and 2012.

For his part, Jerabek will be patrolling the blue line for a second straight year after debuting with the senior side in 2016 in Russia. The 25-year-old defenseman - who signed a one-year free-agent contract with the Canadiens on Monday - registered five assists in eight games for the Czechs last year.

Head coach Josef Jandac's contingent also includes fellow NHLers Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia), David Pastrnak (Boston), Michal Kempny (Chicago), Radko Gudas (Philadelphia) and Petr Mrazek (Detroit).

Like Plekanec, Martinsen is a World Hockey Championship veteran in his own right with seven previous appearances on his resume. The 26-year-old Norwegian has amassed three goals, seven points and 53 penalty minutes in 46 games dating back to his debut in 2010.

Norway gets their tournament underway against host France at AccorHotels Arena. Martinsen is the lone NHLer on the roster.

Interestingly enough, the Czechs and Norwegians will meet on Thursday, May 11 in the French capital, giving Habs fans the opportunity to see all three players in action at once.

Both the Czech Repubic and Norway are featured in Group B, along with Canada, France, Finland, Switzerland, Belarus and Slovenia.

The World Hockey Championship runs through Sunday, May 21, with the semi-finals and bronze- and gold-medal games set for LANXESS Arena in Cologne, Germany.

To view the complete schedule, click here.

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