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Canada shuffles lines for matchup with Russia

by Adam Kimelman

With a full complement of 13 forwards for the first time, Canada coach Steve Spott has decided to shuffle his lines heading into the game Monday against Russia.

The winner of the game will clinch Group B and a bye into the semifinals. The loser will finish second in the group and play the third-place team from Group A in a quarterfinal Wednesday.

Canada's most striking change is on the top line, where top 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin will play at left wing, alongside center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and right wing Mark Scheifele. Drouin has a goal and two assists in three games.

"We want to look at creating some more depth scoring and I think, right now, Jonathan Drouin has proven to us that he's capable of playing with players like Ryan and Mark and we're going to give him an opportunity," Canada coach Steve Spott told TSN. "He hasn't taken a step back. He feels he's a world-class player. He's confident in his own game and his speed and his ability to protect the puck and handle the puck is something we're looking for in that line and we just feel he can give us that dynamic."

That decision shifts Jonathan Huberdeau to left wing on the second line, alongside center Ryan Strome and right wing Ty Rattie.

Spott had said he wasn't all that happy with how his top two lines played in Sunday's 2-1 win against the United States and intimated that there would be changes.

"Our top six forwards were OK," Spott said. "I think the group that got our job done was our gritty, penalty killing-type forwards. Those are the guys who got the job done and of course [goaltender] Malcolm Subban, but I think our top six, to a man, would agree that maybe there's more in the tank and we're going to need more as we move forward."

Huberdeau said he was OK with the changes, and was looking forward to playing with Strome, who is tied for the tournament lead with four goals.

"I'm just going to try and pass him the puck and he's scored every game so that's what I'm going to try and do," Huberdeau said.

Canada also will have forwards Boone Jenner and JC Lipon in the lineup as they return from their respective suspensions. Jenner will center the third line, and Spott said he's happy to have the Columbus Blue Jackets prospect in the lineup finally.

"He brings more of a forecheck presence," he said. "Again, we want to be an aggressive team on the forecheck and he gives you that element. He's hard, he's a strong man, he plays physical, he protects the puck down low, so I think he brings that, plus limiting other guys from having to kill too many penalties. We've had a lot of guys do double duty the last couple of games so that buys us more minutes with some of our top-end players."

Here is the lineup Canada will go into Monday's game with:

Jonathan Drouin - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Mark Scheifele

Jonathan Huberdeau - Ryan Strome - Ty Rattie

Phillip Danault - Boone Jenner - Brett Ritchie

Anthony Camara - Mark McNeill - Nathan MacKinnon

JC Lipon

Scott Harrington - Dougie Hamilton

Xavier Ouellet - Griffin Reinhart

Morgan Rielly - Tyler Wotherspoon

Ryan Murphy

Malcolm Subban will start in net, with Jordan Binnington the backup.

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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