HELSINKI - Canada faces Switzerland on Tuesday in its third game of the preliminary round of the world junior hockey championship. Here are five things to watch in the game:
BACK IN BLACK(WOOD)? Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood is eligible to play for Canada for the first time at the world juniors after having to complete an eight-game suspension for slashing an opposing player in the Ontario Hockey League. Mason McDonald started the first two games for Canada with Samuel Montembeault on the bench, but with Blackwood free to play again expect him to get the nod against Switzerland.
REVOLVING LINES ? Head coach Dave Lowry has not been afraid to juggle his forward lines throughout pre-competition exhibitions or even in the tournament itself. Canada had a great deal of success on Monday with Dylan Strome, Jake Virtanen and Brendan Perlini as one top line and Mitch Marner, Brayden Point and John Quenneville as another. That won't stop Lowry from tweaking those combinations to get maximum chemistry at any time.
GAUTHIER OK? ??? Julien Gauthier missed practice on Sunday with a stomach virus and was doubtful heading in to Monday's 6-1 win over Denmark. He played against the Danes but was not the impact player he usually is for Canada. Watch to see a healthier Gauthier working hard up and down the ice against Switzerland.
ROLLING CANADIANS ??? Switzerland had Monday off, while Canada rolled against Denmark. Several Canadian players ??? including top forwards Marner and Strome ??? spoke about the team regaining confidence and momentum heading into Tuesday's game. Switzerland will have to work hard early in the first period to try and stop Canada's momentum.
NEUTRAL SWITZERLAND? ??? Swiss forward Chris Egli was in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons on Saturday after his hit to Swedish star forward William Nylander earned him a three game suspension, forcing him to miss the rest of the preliminary round. He was one of three players on Switzerland's roster suspended for their physical play against Sweden. Playing smash-mouth hockey with an emphasis on defence is Switzerland's best strategy against more skilled teams like Canada, so expect some big hits on Tuesday.
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