Calgary Flames prospect Markus Granlund made a statement in Finland's 3-2 win over Canada in the first exhibition game of the 2013 World Junior Championship tournament, scoring one goal and helping set up Finland's tying marker.
Granlund centered Finland's top line, with Joel Armia and Miikka Salomäki flanking him. Both Granlund and Armia looked dominant throughout the entire game, showing great chemistry. They generated the bulk of their country's offensive chances but also played a responsible, steady game in their own zone.
If the pair continue to play like they did on Thursday morning, they could be an offensive juggernauts for Finland.
The Finns opened the scoring at 15:13 of the first frame thanks to Granlund's 5-on-3 PP tally. Armia cruised through Canada's zone, freezing the penalty killers who were anticipating a shot from the Buffalo Sabres draft pick. Instead, he found Granlund at the side of the net and the 19 year-old sent a one-timer over Malcom Subban.
The Canadians came on strong early in the second period, scoring two goals 36 seconds apart. Griffin Reinhart was able to bury a rebound at 3:06. Then, a give-and-go between Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mark Scheifele ended up behind Janne Juvonen.
Granlund and Armia were at it once again shortly after the Canadian goals with the Flames prospect beating Subban but not the iron. Armia weaved through the Canadian defence before dishing to Granlund in the slot. The pivot quickly snapped a shot towards the net, clanging it off the post.
Granlund played a part in the Finns second goal of the morning, a power play marker from Ville Järveläinen in the second period. He sent a quick pass to Olli Määttä, who was perched at the point, and the blueliner fed Järveläinen.
The Finns took the lead in the third period when Miro Aaltonen beat Subban glove side. The Canadians weren't able to generate any offence after that, giving the Finns a big pre-tournament win.
The players of the game were Ryan Murphy for Canada and Armia for Finland.
CANADA'S LINES, PAIRINGS & GOALTENDERS:
Ty Rattie - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Mark Scheifele
Jonathan Drouin - Ryan Strome - Brett Ritchie
Charles Hudon - Boone Jenner - JC Lipon
Anthony Camara - Phillip Danault - Nathan MacKinnon
Morgan Rielly - Dougie Hamilton
Josh Harrington - Xavier Ouellet
Tyler Wotherspoon - Griffin Reinhart
FINLAND'S LINES, PAIRINGS & GOALTENDERS:
Miikka Salomäki - Markus Granlund - Joel Armia
Teuvo Teräväinen - Miro Aaltonen - Juuso Ikonen
Thomas Nykopp - Robert Leino - Ville Järveläinen
Matti Lamberg - Saku Salminen - Markus Hännikäinen
Olli Määttä - Mikko Vainonen
Juuso Riikola - Juuso Vainio
Petteri Lindbohm - Esa Lindell
Henri Auvinen - Joonas Valkonen