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World Juniors

WJC roundup: Lafreniere injured in Canada's loss to Russia

Center leaves in second period with left leg injury after collision

by Mike G, Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Saturday is the third day of the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, which is being held in Ostrava and Trinec, Czech Republic.

 
Schedule/results

Finland 8, Slovakia 1

Germany 4, Czech Republic 3

Russia 6, Canada 0

Sweden 5, Switzerland 2

 

Day 3 games

Russia 6, Canada 0 -- Grigori Denisenko (Florida Panthers) and Alexander Khovanov (Minnesota Wild) each had a goal and an assist for Russia, and Canada lost center Alexis Lafreniere, the projected No. 1 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, with a left leg injury in a Group B game at Ostravar Arena in Ostrava.

Canada trailed 3-0 when Lafreniere collided with Russia goalie Amir Miftakhov (2020 NHL Draft eligible) on a drive to the net at 1:36 of the second period. Lafreniere had to be helped off the ice and didn't return.

"He's been a big part of this team for a long time, but we can't use excuses," Canada coach Dale Hunter said of losing Lafreniere. "Russia had a good game and we just have to learn from it and move on."

Canada (1-0-0-1, three points), which lost a WJC game by six goals for the first time, is 12-1-3-9 with three ties against Russia since 1993. Canada goalie Nicolas Daws (2020 NHL Draft eligible) made 14 saves on 18 shots before being replaced by Joel Hofer (St. Louis Blues) at 2:18 of the second period. Hofer made 20 saves on 22 shots.

Khovanov, Pavel Dorofeyev (Vegas Golden Knights) and Nikita Rtishev (2020 NHL Draft eligible) scored in the first period to give Russia (1-0-0-1, three points) a 3-0 lead. Miftakhov finished with 28 saves.

Germany 4, Czech Republic 3 -- Dominik Bokk (Carolina Hurricanes) scored two goals and Moritz Seider (Detroit Red Wings) had three assists for Germany (1-0-0-1, three points) in its Group B game. Martin Has (Washington Capitals) had a goal and two assists for the Czech Republic (1-0-0-1, three points).

Sweden 5, Switzerland 2 -- Samuel Fagemo (Los Angeles Kings) scored two goals and Hugo Alnefelt (Tampa Bay Lightning) made 25 saves for Sweden in a Group A game at Werk Arena in Trinec. Lucas Raymond, an A-rated prospect in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list for the 2020 NHL Draft, had a goal and an assist for Sweden (1-1-0-0, five points), which has won 50 straight WJC preliminary-round games since a 3-2 overtime loss to the United States on Dec. 31, 2006. Gilian Kohler (2020 NHL Draft eligible) had a goal and an assist for Switzerland (1-0-0-1, three points).

Finland 8, Slovakia 1 -- Aku Raty (Arizona Coyotes) scored two goals and Justus Annunen (Colorado Avalanche) made 25 saves for defending champion Finland in its Group A game. Aatu Raty (2021 NHL Draft eligible), Patrik Puistola (Carolina Hurricanes) and Joonas Oden, a C-rated skater in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list in the 2020 draft, each had a goal and an assist for Finland (1-0-1-0, four points). Robert Dzugan (2020 NHL Draft eligible) scored for Slovakia (1-0-0-1, three points).

 

What we learned on Day 3

Canada concerned with starts

Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils) can't understand why Canada has struggled in the first period of its opening two games in Group B preliminary-round play.

Canada was able to rally for a 6-4 win against the United States on Thursday after trailing 2-0. But Canada trailed 3-0 after one period against Russia on Saturday and ended up losing 6-0.

"It's all to do about the start of the game, and we didn't come out prepared to compete against the Russians," Smith said. "We didn't match their intensity early on and it spiraled from there. There's no need to point fingers at the goalies because it starts with our group being ready to go.

"Against the U.S., it was our first game of the tournament so there might have been some jitters, but we did a good job responding in that game. Against Russia, it was just a lack of urgency to start a game."

Canada coach Dale Hunter said it comes down to being mentally ready from the outset.

"We turned the puck over too much and obviously we didn't play good enough defense," Hunter said. "We played six games against Russia, including games in the Canada-Russia Series (in November), so we know them well. Our start was all about turnovers and bad D-zone coverage. They jumped on us and when you get a lead like that, it's tough to come back."

Russia rebounds

Russia made history with its big win against Canada.

The 6-0 win was the largest margin of victory against Canada in WJC history. Canada has lost by as many as five goals on three occasions, most recently in a 7-2 defeat against Russia in the 1992 tournament.

"It's always good when you make history," said Russia forward Alexander Khovanov (Minnesota Wild). "If you look at the statistics after the game, we have more shots, more hits and we won face-offs and we played like a team. We're hungry to win every game."

Khovanov, who has 53 points (20 goals, 33 assists) for Moncton of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, scored the opening goal 1:44 into the first period for Russia, which rebounded from a 4-3 loss to the Czech Republic on Thursday.

For the first time since the introduction of round-robin play in the tournament in 1996, all five countries in Group B share a 1-0-0-1 record, good for three points. Russia is first on the basis of a plus-5 goal differential, and the United States (plus-1) is second entering their game Sunday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN).

Seider stars for Germany

Moritz Seider is living up to all the hype after being selected by the Detroit Red Wings with the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

The 18-year-old defenseman, who is captain for Germany, had three assists and four shots on goal in a game-high 26:27 of ice time during a 4-3 win against the Czech Republic on Saturday. Seider signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Red Wings on July 14, and has 12 points (one goal, 11 assists) in 28 games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League.

"It's always fun playing in a full house, playing against a crowd ... that's not easy but everybody was pumped to play," Seider said. "I think the boys did a good job. We have a really young team and a lot of guys don't know how to play in front of a big crowd, but they did an unreal job."

Germany (1-0-0-1; three points) is playing in the top division of the WJC for the first time since 2015.

"Everybody should be pumped and ready to go the rest of the tournament," Seider said. "We have to be smart, have to be clever and then I think anything is possible."

Aatu Raty showcasing talent for Finland

Aatu Raty, the only 2021 NHL Draft-eligible player in the tournament, had a goal and an assist in an impressive showing for Finland in its 8-1 win against Slovakia on Saturday.

The 17-year-old forward, who has four points (two goals, two assists) in 12 games for Karpat of Liiga, Finland's top pro league, has the potential to be a top-3 selection in 2021.

"He's a very fast skater and can pass and shoot, and has a very good understanding of the game," said Goran Stubb, NHL Director of European Scouting. "He's close to a complete two-way forward already and, presently, the No. 1 prospect from Europe for the 2021 draft."

Raty has benefitted by playing on a line with his older brother, Aku Raty (Arizona Coyotes), and Sampo Ranta (Colorado Avalanche) at the tournament. Aatu and Aku Raty are usually working on a line for Karpat.

Raymond strikes for Sweden

Lucas Raymond, projected to be a top-five pick at the 2020 NHL Draft, played a prominent role in leading Sweden to its 50th straight preliminary-round win at the World Junior Championship.

Raymond, an A-rated skater in NHL Central Scouting's preliminary players to watch list, had a goal and an assist for his first two points of the tournament in a 5-2 win against Switzerland on Saturday.

Sweden alternate captain David Gustafsson (Winnipeg Jets) likes what he sees in the 17-year-old forward, who has five points (three goals, two assists) in 16 games for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League.

"He's a really good, skilled player and a good guy," Gustafsson said. "I really think he can do some good things for us this tournament."

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