After a busy opening day for Flames prospects at the World Juniors, just two played on the second day.
Pavel Karnaukhov and the Russians rebounded from a 5-3 loss to Team Canada with a 9-1 win over Latvia, while Dillon Dube and the Canadians continued rolling with a 5-0 win over Team Slovakia.
Here’s what went down for Karnaukhov and Dube in context of their teams’ wins.
To me, Karnaukhov was most noticeable as a net-front presence.
Sure, he was often a part of the play, and he clearly knew how to work his size to his advantage. But it was being in front of the net that got him his goal – the first Flames prospect of the tournament to score one – as he put Russia 3-0 up in the first period.
He and linemate Danila Kvartalnov brought the puck into the zone cleanly, but ran into a bit of trouble as Kvartalnov was forced to the outside and ended up shooting it around the boards. It almost left the zone, but defencemen Vadim Kudako was able to pick it up on the blueline. The shot he fired ended up hitting the Latvian goaltender, Gustavs Grigals, and in the enusing chaos Karnaukhov – the only Russian in a swarm of Latvians around the crease – was able to capitalize.
Even though the Russians scored nine goals, Karnaukhov was on the ice for just one more: the fourth tally, in which he made himself an option for Mikhail Vorobyov to pass to, but ultimately had no influence on the goal.
Only four Russian forwards had multi-point games – and one of those was a two-point game, so only three really put a lot on the board – so there really isn’t much to read into Karnaukhov having so little numerical impact despite being part of a blowout win. He did have three shots on net, which was tied for third among Russian forwards.
Amidst Russia’s style of rolling lines, Karnaukhov played 13:37 over 23 shifts, and received both powerplay and penalty kill time. He played a clean game, picking up just one meaningless penalty when things got chippy at the end of regulation.
Dube is not going to be one of Canada’s go-to guys; nevertheless, he was actually third in Canadian forward ice time with 15:24 played. He doesn’t get featured on the powerplay, and he did only pick up a secondary assist (while being on the ice for two goals), but really, he could have had more on the board had the bounces gone his line’s way a little more.
For example, Canada had failed to score any goals in the first period; this certainly wasn’t on Dube, who continued to look to generate chances out of nothing. They all failed, but the situations were so chaotic at times, pretty much all you’d be able to ask from him would be to get pucks either on the net or to teammates in a better chance to score, and he attempted to do just that constantly.
Of Canada’s three even strength goals, Dube was on the ice for two of them. He was the one Canadian behind Anthony Cirelli when Cirelli tipped Jeremy Lauzon’s shot in, closer to the net but ultimately, as it would turn out, not necessary; for his secondary assist, he – along with Cirelli and Michael McLeod – helped bring the puck into the offensive zone to begin with, and was a part of the buzzing trio creating general havoc for the Slovaks until the puck wound up in the back of the net.
My general assessment would be that Dube is fast, smart, and looks really, really annoying to play against. What he does is look to generate, always. When he can’t, he looks to get the puck and move it towards the net, so he can continue to help generate chances. He’s well-rounded and though I was surprised to see he was one of the forwards Canada relied the most on, I suppose I shouldn’t be.
He’s not going to grab headlines the way many of his teammates will – but what he’s doing is pretty great.
- Oliver Kylington and Team Sweden vs. Team Switzerland on Dec. 28 at 3 p.m.
- Adam Fox, Tyler Parsons, and Team USA vs. Team Slovakia on Dec. 28 at 5:30 p.m.
- Adam Fox, Tyler Parsons, and Team USA vs. Pavel Karnaukhov and Team Russia on Dec. 29 at 1:30 p.m.
- Oliver Kylington and Team Sweden vs. Team Finland on Dec. 29 at 3:30 p.m.
- Dillon Dube and Team Canada vs. Team Latvia on Dec. 29 at 6 p.m.