Tuesday, June 1 | 5 a.m. ET | Riga, Latvia | Preliminary Round
TV: TSN | Stream: TSN Direct
It all comes down to this for
Canada’s National Men’s Team, which must beat Finland in its preliminary-round finale to move through
to the quarterfinals at the 2021 IIHF World Championship.
The Canadian offence continued to get on track, getting goals from six
different players in
a 7-1 win over Italy on Sunday. Andrew Mangiapane continued his hot streak with two goals and
two assists, Connor Brown set up four goals and Canada pounded the Italian
goal with 49 shots in its most impressive performance to date. The goals
came early and often in the first period, with the Canadians building a 4-0
lead before the game was 12 minutes old, and the result was never in doubt
The Finns made it five wins from six games in a thriller against the host
Latvians. Finland twice gave back one-goal leads, including with less than
seven minutes to go in the third period, but Florida Panthers 2020
first-rounder Anton Lundell scored with four seconds to go in overtime to
earn the extra point with a 3-2 victory.
The last time the IIHF World Championship was held, in 2019, the Canadians
and Finns were the last two teams standing, clashing in the gold medal game
in Bratislava, Slovakia. Shea Theodore opened the scoring for Canada midway
through the first period, but a pair of third-period goals by the Finns
were the difference in
a 3-1 loss that left Canada with silver for the 13th time.
WHAT TO WATCH
First and foremost – the standings. Canada finds itself tied with Germany
and Latvia for the last playoff spot, one point back of Kazakhstan. With
the Kazakhs done their prelim schedule, the playoff math becomes pretty
simple for the Canadians – win (in regulation or overtime) and they’re in.
Lose in overtime, they could still get in (depending on the result of the
Germany-Latvia game). Lose in regulation and they’re done.
As for the team itself? We know we sound like a broken record, but how good
has the Mangiapane-Henrique-Brown line been? Since Mangiapane drew into the
line-up three games ago, the Canadians have not lost and that trio has
combined for an unbelievable 25 points – 10 goals, 15 assists.
But perhaps even more important for the Canadians – the secondary scoring
is starting to come. In the win over Italy, Canada got goals from three of
its four lines, its 13th forward and its defence. That’s a good sign
against a tough defensive team like the Finns.
A LOOK BACK
The Finns are familiar foes at worlds; this will mark the 51st meeting
between the nations dating back to 1951, with the Canadians holding a 36-12
edge, with two ties. The goal differential is decidedly in Canada’s favour
– 268-112 – but that total is largely skewed because the first eight times
they met, Canada outscored Finland 118-7, including a 24-0 romp in 1958.
More recently, the Finns have won the last three head-to-heads, and five of
the last seven. Canada’s last victory came in the prelim finale in Paris in
2017, when Mitch Marner scored twice and added an assist in the first
a 5-2 victory.
All-time record: Canada leads 36-12-2 (2-1 in OT/SO)
Canada goals: 268
Finland goals: 112