The World Junior Championships got a gold medal game to remember as Canada pulled off a big comeback victory Saturday to win the gold as Los Angeles Kings’ prospect Akil Thomas scored the go-ahead goal to give Canada a 4-3 win over Russia on Sunday.
Canada was down 3-1 to Russia in the third, but got key goals from Washington Capitals’ prospect Connor McMichael and Arizona Coyotes forward Barrett Hayton to come back and tie the game. It’s the third time in six years that Canada has won the World Championships, but the first time since 2008 that they have won the title on Europe ice. Russia finished with the silver, while Sweden topped Finland for the bronze medal earlier today.
Projected top pick in the 2020 draft, Alexis Lafreniere was named the MVP of the tournament, by the IIHF, as well as the top forward. Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Rasmus Sandin was awarded the top defenseman award, while St. Louis prospect Joel Hofer won the top goaltender award.
- One reason the Montreal Canadiens went through with signing forward Ilya Kovalchuk last week was that they realized they had little chance of acquiring New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider. The New York Post’s Larry Brooks notes that Kreider, who has a modified no-trade clause in which he has submitted an 11-team no-trade list, has all the Canadien teams on his list, meaning he has no interest in playing there. Kreider remains the top trade candidate at the trade deadline.
- The Columbus Blue Jackets got some much needed depth back on their blueline as the team announced they have activated Markus Nutivaara off of injured reserve. The 25-year-old has been out since Nov. 5 when he suffered an upper-body injury and has now missed 27 games. The blueliner has two goals in 10 games this season, but should add a helping hand as the team has several defensemen on IR, including Ryan Murray, Dean Kukan and Andrew Peeke.
- The Winnipeg Jets may have forward Andrew Copp back in the lineup as The Athletic’s Ken Weibe reports that the 25-year-old was a full participant in practice. Head coach Paul Maurice said that if he comes to the rink feeling as good as he left Sunday, that Copp should find himself back in the lineup. The forward has missed the past eight games with an upper-body injury.