The weeks and days leading up to the 2013 IIHF world under-20 championship were not kind to the Canadian junior team.
Everett Silvertips defenceman Ryan Murray suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in November. A lack of goal scoring and penalty problems were evident in the team's four exhibition games.
A back injury ended left wing Charles Hudon of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens tournament before Canada played its first game. He was replaced by Mark McNeill of the Prince Albert Raiders.
Boone Jenner made an unnecessary hit in an exhibition game against Sweden on Saturday and as a result was suspended for the first three games of this tournament.
Jonathan Drouin's status was in doubt after the talented 17-year-old Halifax Mooseheads forward suffered a charley horse ailment in a Christmas Day practice. But he recovered in time, scored a third-period goal and set up linemate Ryan Strome for another in the second period of Canada's tournament-opening 9-3 win against Germany on Wednesday.
Canada now has gone a perfect 14-0 in the three world junior tournaments affected by a NHL lockout. Here are five facts from Canada's first win in Ufa, Russia.
In good company
1. The big line of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Huberdeau and Mark Scheifele exhibited plenty of chemistry. They combined for four goals and 10 points. In his first world junior game, Nugent-Hopkins checked in with a goal and five points, which was only two points off the Canadian junior record of seven points in a game.
The 19-year-old Nugent-Hopkins became the 23rd Canadian junior to record a five-or-more point game in tournament history. Only seven players have registered more points in a game.
7 - Gabriel Bourque Dec. 26/09 vs. Latvia (3 goals, 4 assists)
7 - Mike Cammalleri Dec. 25/01 vs. France (3 goals, 4 assists)
7 - Dave Andreychuk Jan. 4/83 vs. Norway (3 goals 4 assists)
6 - Cody Hodgson Dec. 28/08 vs. Kazakhstan (2 goals, 4 assists)
6 - Jared Aulin Dec. 25/01 vs. France (2 goals, 4 assists)
6 - Mario Lemieux Jan. 4/83 vs. Norway (2 goals, 4 assists)
6 - Wayne Gretzky Dec. 25/77 vs. Czechoslovakia (four goals, two assists)
2. Canadian head coach Steve Spott made Belleville Bulls goalie Malcolm Subban his No. 1 netminder despite a mediocre selection camp and ordinary performances in the exhibition games. Subban, who turned 19 last Friday, made 25 saves.
He was beaten twice on the stick side, but it was a performance for Subban to build on. Subban will start against Slovakia on Friday.
3. Even though this game was only against Germany, the nine goals also were something to build on for the team's offence after scoring only three in exhibition games against Finland and Sweden last week.
Canada saw eight different players score goals: Xavier Ouellet, Nugent-Hopkins, Scheifele (2), Huberdeau, Ty Rattie, Ryan Strome, Drouin and Tyler Wotherspoon.
4. The Canadians were better disciplined. They took four minor penalties, but the charging penalty to Anthony Camara was questionable.
Still, there is plenty of work to do and they have another round-robin game against Slovakia on Friday to smooth out the rough edges before the important tests against the United States and Russia on Sunday and Monday.
5. Canada now has a 22-1 record against Germany/West Germany and has outscored the Germans 156-37. Canada's only loss was a 7-6 outcome in 1981.
This German team had six CHLers in its lineup on Wednesday.
G Marvin Cupper (Shawinigan) Did not play
F Nickolas Latta (Sarnia)
F Leon Draisaitl (Prince Albert)
F Dominik Kahun (Sudbury)
F Tobias Rieder (Kitchener)
F Sebastian Uvira (Oshawa)
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