Canada and Finland have simply waltzed through the group stage thus far at the IIHF World Hockey Championship. Both teams sit at 6-0-0-0 with Canada having a slightly better goal differential of +30 vs Finland's +19. Both teams have made it with solid defense with Finland allowing 1.0 GA/Game vs Canada's 0.67 GA/Game.
On the offensive side, Patrik Laine has led Finland with 10 points (6G, 4A) and currently sits 2nd in tournament scoring further cementing his high draft ranking. Not far behind though is Canada’s Derick Brassard (Columbus Blue Jackets) with 9 points (3G, 6A) who sits 5th in the tournament. Finland’s Aleksander Barkov (Florida Panthers) is tied with Brassard with nine points of his own. Taylor Hall (Edmonton Oilers), Corey Perry (Anaheim Ducks), and Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche) all have eight points which puts them in a tie for 6th in tournament scoring.
These teams have blasted through the round robin and the chart below illustrates that:
|2016 IIHF World Hockey Championship
As shown above, Canada has won the majority of games by a few more goals than the Finns but that's not going to be a lot to go off heading into a group deciding game. Canada's closest game was the against Germany in which they still won by three goals whereas Finland had a couple close games against the United States and France.
Mikko Koivu (Minnesota Wild) and Jussi Jokinen (Florida Panthers) are the biggest NHL names on the top with Patrik Laine set to join the crop at the NHL Draft in June. Niklas Backstrom (Calgary Flames) has yet to play in the tournament unfortunately.
These teams last met at the 2014 tournament with Finland eliminating Canada in the quarterfinals with a 3-2 win. Finland ended up going on to earn a silver medal in the tournament after falling to Russia in the gold medal game. Finland last won the tournament in 2011.
Tomorrow's game plays a very important role in the tournament as the winning team will secure a much easier quarterfinal matchup. The winner will get either Switzerland or Denmark while the loser will be forced to play Sweden or Russia.
Make sure to try and watch the game tomorrow which starts at 11:15am MST. If you can't, check back here for our game recap and updated tournament outlook following the game.
Go Canada Go!
by Michael MacGillivray