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World Championship

Colton Parayko of Blues making impact for Canada at World Championship

Defenseman has chance to win gold medal against Sweden on Sunday

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

COLOGNE, Germany -- St. Louis Blues defenseman Colton Parayko has a golden opportunity to end his season on a positive note.

Parayko will play for gold with Canada against Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Championship on Sunday (2:45 p.m. ET; NHLN).

"It's pretty special," said Parayko, who had two assists to help Canada rally for a 4-2 win against Russia on Saturday in the first semifinal to advance to the gold medal game. "You're representing your country. Whenever you get the opportunity to do that it's pretty cool. It almost just gives you chills, goosebumps, just kind of thinking about it. It's going to be exciting tomorrow. We have a good group in there and I think it's going to be a lot of fun."

The tournament has given Parayko an opportunity to eradicate any lingering disappointment from his season with the Blues, who were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Nashville Predators with a 3-1 loss in Game 6 of the Western Conference Second Round on May 7.

Parayko joined Canada two days later and made a quick impact.

"He's such a force back there," said Canada teammate and Florida Panthers defenseman Michael Matheson. "Obviously, his size (6-foot-6) is like nobody else. He's been a great addition for us, with his big shot on the power play and then being able to shut down the other team's top lines as well."

Parayko, who had 35 points (four goals, 31 assists) in 81 regular-season games for the Blues, has seven points (three goals, four assists) in five games in his first international tournament with Canada.

He's impressed in his debut.

"He's a pretty big guy," said Canada teammate and Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner. "He eats a lot of minutes, and he's obviously got the huge shot from the point. He adds a lot of dimensions, 5-on-5 and power play, so he's been big so far.

"We need him to give us one more good game."

Parayko, 24, has one game remaining in what's developed into an extended season.

It started when he was a member of Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey 2016 in September, continued through 92 regular-season and playoff games with the Blues, and will finish with six games played at the World Championship.

Parayko's sixth with Canada, the tournament finale, will guarantee him a souvenir to take home. He's hoping it's gold.

"That would be huge," Parayko said. "I'm looking forward to it [Sunday]. It's going to be a lot of fun.

"It's pretty special. You get to represent your country for one, and then two, to get the opportunity to come out and get asked to do something like this is pretty cool, too. It's been a pleasure just to get overseas with these guys even though I came a little bit late. It's been nothing but an awesome experience, straight from hockey to life experiences to everything."

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