December 29 2012 10:22PM
One of the marquee match-ups of the World Juniors takes place on Sunday night in Ufa, Russia – and the wee hours of Sunday morning in North America – as Team Canada tangles with Team USA!
Team Canada (2-0-0) is coming off a resounding defeat of Germany and a surprising come-from-behind win over Slovakia. Canada's systems were a bit fast and loose against Germany (the only goals Germany have scored in the tournament were against Canada) and the discipline problems that emerged during the pre-competition games exploded against Slovakia. Two Canadian forwards were ejected from the game and the club had to battle back from behind.
The Canadians have the firepower to play fast and loose against the Germanys and Slovakias, but their schedule will get really tough from here on out, as they play twice in just over 24 hours against the talented Americans and the very sharp Russians.
Tale of the Tape
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins leads the tournament in scoring so far, with 7 points over 2 games. He's trailed by teammates Ryan Strome (5 points) and Mark Scheifele (4 points) for the lead. Canada will be without Boone Jenner and J.C. Lipon, both due to suspension. Both will be back in the line-up against Russia on Monday.
Team USA (1-1-0) is coming off an incredibly entertaining 2-1 loss against Russia on Thursday. The club has failed to really pile on the goals, but they've been creating tons of chances. Russian goaltender Andrei Makarov absolutely frustrated the American attackers all game. It's unclear if they'll change their game-plan to adapt it to the goaltending style of Malcolm Subban, who's been criticized by some for his performance, with analysts suggesting that he's fighting the puck. Either way, Subban has been winning games. On the American side, John Gibson has been very solid in net and gives his team a chance to win.
Alex Galchenyuk (4 points) leads the Americans in scoring, trailed by forward Riley Barber (3 points) and defender Jacob Trouba (2 points).
Four Calgary Flames prospects will be in uniform for this contest: Canada defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon and American winger John Gaudreau, defenseman Patrick Sieloff and back-up goaltender Jon Gillies. We'll also see two Jets (Team USA's Jacob Trouba and Canada's Mark Scheifele), an Oiler (Canada's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), a Canadien (USA's Alex Galchenyuk), and two Leafs (Canada's Morgan Rielly and USA's Tyler Biggs). Team USA's third goalie Garret Sparks won't dress, but is a Leafs prospect, while Vancouver and Ottawa aren't represented at all in this game.
The puck drops at 4am ET on TSN, with replays at noon ET and 8pm ET.