World juniors: 5 things to watch in Canada vs. Denmark
Canadian squad returns to ice Monday; lost opener to U.S.
Canada plays Denmark on Monday (1 p.m. ET) as the preliminary round of the world junior hockey championship continues in Helsinki, Finland. Canada lost its first game of the tournament to the United States 4-2 on Saturday, making this game an important rebound opportunity.
Here are five things to watch in the game against Denmark.
The 3rd man
Mitch Marner and Dylan Strome are Canada's best players but they have yet to find a third player to round out their line. In the 4-2 loss to the Americans the pair played with at least three different wingers including Brendan Perlini. He seemed to have stuck, with head coach Dave Lowry having him practise on the top line Sunday. His size and readiness to put the puck on the net might help Canada's offence come alive.
Shoot the puck
After Saturday's loss to the United States most of Canada's players said the same thing: they needed to shoot more. Drills on Sunday focused on shooting and then crashing the net. Look for Danish goalie Thomas Lillie to get peppered as Canada's offence puts an emphasis on taking shots and not fancy plays.
Mason McDonald will be back in net for Canada against Denmark. He had to step up in the first two games of the tournament as Mackenzie Blackwood, Canada's presumptive No. 1 goalie before the event, finishes out an eight-game suspension. Lowry always said that the starting goalie job was open to competition, so if McDonald wants to prove himself the time is now.
Denmark does not have the stars it did in last year's surprising playoff run, so it's going to have to rely on defence, special teams and making life easy for Lillie. Knowing that Canada's going to put an emphasis on shooting early and often, the Danish defence will have to block shots and try to force the Canadians to shoot from as far back as possible.
No looking back
Momentum can be everything in such a short tournament. Denmark rallied to a 2-1 win over a suspension-depleted Switzerland on Sunday, while Canada came up short to the United States 4-2 on Saturday. That said, Canada's players insisted that the disappointing loss to the Americans was in the past and they were ready to move on. They certainly seemed loose on Sunday afternoon, whooping it up and celebrating every goal at practice.