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Canada vs. Czech Republic final score: With dominating performance, Canadians finish atop Group B at 2020 World Juniors – Sporting News



The Canadians entered Tuesday’s contest needing a win and on New Year’s Eve — they did not drop the ball. With a dominating 7-2 performance over the Czech Republic, Canada will ring in the new year as the No. 1 seed in Group B and will face Group A’s fourth-ranked team, Slovakia, in the quarterfinals.

Assistant captain Joe Veleno (Detroit Red Wings) returned from his one-game suspension and began the festivities with a power-play goal. His tally set off a barrage of markers for the Canadians with the man advantage that when the clock hit zeroes of the first period, they had netted a total of four. Nolan Foote (Tampa Bay Lightning), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) — whose goal needed more than seven minutes of review to confirm — and Connor McMichael (Washington Capitals) tickled the twine.

In the second, the revelers were entertained as the two teams netted three goals in a tournament-record 24 seconds: two by the Czechs to make it a two-goal game and then Liam Foudy (Columbus Blue Jackets) jumping on a weird carom and finishing into an open net to quash any comeback. Canada added two more goals against a depleted Czech team. Head coach Vaclav Varada’s squad lost their goalie Lukas Parik (Los Angeles Kings) to injury and Otakar Sik was tossed for slashing. They entered the game with a injury-riddled a squad and will now face an undefeated Sweden in the medal round.

MORE: Keep tabs on Team Canada’s schedule, scores

For Canada, old acquaintances will now need to be forgot as it will meet the Slovaks in the quarterfinals. Slovakia won one game in the preliminary round and netted just eight goals to 22 allowed. The big question for Canada heading into this one is whether phenom Alexis Lafreniere will suit up. He did not play against the Czech Republic and his status is still unknown for the medal rounds. 

Sporting News had all the action as Canada defeated the Czech Republic to close out the preliminary stage at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Canada vs. Czech Republic results, highlights from 2020 World Juniors

(All times Eastern)

Final score: Canada 7, Czech Republic 2

3:44 p.m. — Jan Mysak, a 2020 draft prospect, selected as the player of the game for the Czechs. With a goal and two assists, Dylan Cozens gets the honor for Canada.

3:43 p.m. — So it’ll be Canada vs. Slovakia on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. ET.

Third period: Canada 7, Czech Republic 2

3:23 p.m. — GOAL. Jared McIsaac walks the blue line and goes against the grain with the wrister. Canada leads 7-2.

3:16 p.m. — Quinton Byfield gets two for tripping but the Czech Republic did not score.

3:10 p.m. — Back to 5-on-5 hockey.

3:08 p.m. — Two-man advantage is over. Canada now has 47 seconds of a 5-on-4.

3:08 p.m. — Third period. Canada starts on 5-on-3.

Second period: Canada 6, Czech Republic 2

2:50 p.m. — Canadians will start the third period with a 45-second two-man advantage.

2:48 p.m. — Canada now with a one minute and 10 second 5-on-3 as Joe Veleno gets an accidental stick to the face. Only 24 seconds left in the period.

2:45 p.m. — Now Canada will get another power-play chance.

2:41 p.m. — Jared McIsaac will head to the sin bin. Czech’s scored on their last power play. They did not score this time.

2:34 p.m. — PP GOAL. Make that five power-play goals for Canada. Credit this one to Dylan Cozens who deflected in the Calen Addison point shot. Canada leads 6-2.

2:33 p.m. — The three goals between the two teams set a new tournament record.

2:32 p.m. — It’s a good goal and the Czechs must now kill a two-minute minor.

2:31 p.m. —  The goal is being reviewed to see if it was offside.

2:30 p.m. GOAL. So . . .10 seconds later, off a dump-in, Malik goes to play the puck behind the net but it doesn’t even get to him. The puck caroms out to in front and Liam Foudy finishes. Canada leads 5-2.

2:29 p.m. — GOAL. Woah. 14 seconds later its the trailer Libor Zabransky who snaps the puck past Joel Hofer. Canada leads 4-2.

2:27 p.m. — PP GOAL. Vojtech Strondala — who was added to the Czech roster this morning with all the injury woes — buries the rebound. Canada leads 4-1.

2:24 p.m. — Czechs with 2-on-1 down low but Jaromir Pytlik crashing the net misses the puck and Joe Veleno is called for slashing him. The host country heads to the power play.

2:23 p.m. — Ty Smith with a chance that Malik blockers away.

2:22 p.m. — Czech Republic comes close to getting on the board with Adam Raska (Rimouski Oceanic) missing the puck with an open net. Fans chanting, “We want a goal.” 

2:11 p.m. —  The second period is underway.

2:10 p.m. — Somehow, the shots on net were only nine for Canada and four for the Czech Republic in that first period.

First period: Canada 4, Czech Republic 0

1:53 p.m. — Canada’s four power-play goals ties tournament record for most in a period.

1:46 p.m. — By the way: Canada still has more than two minutes left on the power play.

1:44 p.m. — Czech netminder Lukas Parik is hurt and not putting any weight on his leg as he is helped off. Nick Malik, the Czech’s backup, and third-string, goalie goes in the net. His dad is former NHL defenseman Marek Malik who famously scored this between-the-legs goal. Lukas Dostal, who was scheduled to be the starter for the tournament, is out hurt too.

1:43 p.m. — PP GOAL.  New Year’s Eve fireworks at Ostravar Arena. Connor McMichael puts home the loose puck. Canada leads 4-0.

1:42 p.m. — The power play is back to a 5-on-4.

1:41 p.m. — PP GOAL. After seven-plus minutes of review: officially official. Barrett Hayton nets his third of the tourney.  Canada leads 3-0.

1:38 p.m. — Play still being checked but very hard to tell from the replays; however, Canadians in attendance definitely think it’s a goal.

1:37 p.m. — In the meantime, Libor Zabransky (Moose Jaw) was called for a penalty at the whistle and Canada will have a two-man advantage.

1:35 p.m. — StandbyThe play is being reviewed to see if the puck crossed the line as it actually hit Parik’s shoulder and rolled up his body — possibly over the goal line.

1:34 p.m. — Lukas Parik, a Kings prospect, with a big-time diving save as the Canadians go across the crease with the pass and Barrett Hayton finishes with the quick release.

1:32 p.m. — Canada back to the power play as Otakar Sik is called for (what’s nicely-being called) slashing and given a five-minute major and a game misconduct. 

1:26 p.m. — PP GOAL. Nolan Foote with a rocket of a shot — a one-timer — from the top of the right circle. Canada leads 2-0.

1:23 p.m. — Canada back to the power play; already 1-for-1 on the day.

1:16 p.m. — PP GOAL.  A blocked shot goes right to Joe Veleno who buries it for his first goal of the tourney. Canada leads 1-0.

1:15 p.m. — Now it’ll be Canada’s turn with the man advantage. Entering the game, Canada has four power-play goals in 12 chances.

1:13 p.m. —  Solid kill by Canada as they don’t allow the Czech’s to get a shot on net.

1:10 p.m. — Canada will be shorthanded as Nolan Foote is called for tripping. Czech’s have netted two power-play goals in every game.

1:08 p.m. — Puck has been dropped. Game on!


12:31 p.m. — Full lineups for both squads. It’ll be Joel Hofer vs. Lukas Parik between the pipes.

12:19 p.m. — Canada’s lineup for the tilt with the Czechs.

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A Maple Leafs lottery win would magically open up trade options –



TORONTO — The morning after yet another swift and painful postseason exit strangely brings a ray of hope to Leafs Nation.

A 12.5 per cent chance to land a sure-thing star forward in Alexis Lafreniere and energize GM Kyle Dubas’ options for a reset.

The NHL Draft Lottery goes tonight on Sportsnet at 6 p.m. ET. And for the first year since 2016, Toronto is in the running for the No. 1–overall pick.

Worked out pretty good last time, eh?

From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.

A mere 19 hours after hanging heads and shaking hands with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Maple Leafs join the Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets with a ball in the hopper and a prayer to the hockey gods.

As evidenced by some of the logos stamped on tonight’s eight ping-pong balls — together Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Toronto represent a 37.5 per cent chance of sending social media into a firestorm — and some of the logos that won’t be (Montreal and Chicago), the hockey gods have a devilish sense of humour.

Make no mistake: This is not the Elite Eight the Leafs wanted to be part of.

When the NHL announced its creative and chaotic return-to-play and two-phase lottery formats, with more moving parts than a Professor’s Cube, Dubas was clear his mind would not be wandering to Lafreniere’s cherished blend of creativity and physicality.

“Not to say that it would be a horrible scenario to win the lottery or anything like that, but I tend to focus more on the optimistic view, which is getting our team ready to… be able to have success,” Dubas said prior to restart camp.

“I think there are going to be a lot of interesting results in this qualifying round, just given the nature of things and the delay between when teams last played and different changes to the roster in that meantime.”

Interesting, indeed.

Dubas was in regular communication with the NHL as it designed both these unique lottery odds and tournament format.

“They bounce things off you, and you quickly realize that there’s no perfect way to do it,” Dubas said. “And regardless of how it all came out, everyone’s chances were going to be affected differently.”

The possibility of the Leafs landing Lafreniere only exists because Dubas made certain his 2020 first-overall pick was top-10 protected when he traded it to Carolina last summer as part of the Patrick Marleau salary-dump deal.

If one of the seven other teams claims Monday’s lottery, Toronto’s 2020 first-rounder transfers to Carolina and results in a 13th- or 14th-overall choice for the Hurricanes. Consider that a cap-weaponized trade win for Don Waddell.

So, after blaming bad fortune on the ice Sunday night, some good lottery luck Monday will alleviate two per cent of the sting Sheldon Keefe is feeling.

“I’m obviously not focused on it one bit, but it’s the next thing on the calendar for us, so I’ll be paying attention to it,” said Keefe, before shifting his focus back to Game 5’s disappointment. “I’ll be thinking about this one for quite a while.”

As the Maple Leafs’ freshest failure dusts off old concerns about roster construction, a Lafreniere win could do wonders here.

Essentially, the kid is a get-out-of-jail-free card.

Keep him. Move some money.

Three years of an elite winger on entry-level money gives the brass no excuse to not trade one of the Big 4 and use that freed cap space to address its defensive deficiencies in a meaningful way.

This wildly unlikely scenario, this 12.5 per cent Hail Mary, has made us think of something the general manager said about fixing his team’s problems at the trade deadline.

“I’m not gonna come up and bulls— and tell you I have some magical solution,” Dubas said that day, standing pat and scratching his head.

Finding yourself lucky enough to win Alexis Lafreniere after finishing 13th overall in the regular season is about as close to a magical solution as one could get.

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2020 NHL Draft Lottery Phase 2 Primer: Who will pick first overall? –



On Monday night, the hockey world will know who is likely to draft Alexis Lafreniere first overall when the results of the draft lottery are announced.

Wait — didn’t we already have 2020 draft lottery results?

Yes! But like everything else this year, the path to first overall is a little unorthodox. We had a Phase 1 lottery in June that could have determined the top three picks if only non-playoff teams were drawn, but since a “Placeholder” team won that initial lottery, we have to do a second one now.

Confused? You’re probably not alone. And so that’s why we’re getting you caught up with everything you need to know about Monday’s lottery… and why there’s a second draw at all.

And you can watch the drama unfold on Sportsnet and Sportsnet NOW, beginning at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT.

From the Stanley Cup Qualifiers to the Stanley Cup Final, livestream every game of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, blackout-free, on Sportsnet NOW.


When the NHL paused its season in March, we were in the midst of a tight playoff race, with only a handful of teams that really were out of it. A couple others — notably Montreal and Chicago — had an extremely long shot of getting in.

So the NHL had a dilemma when trying to formulate a return-to-play plan: where would the cut-off line be for who’s in and who’s out? What was fair, given some teams had played more games than others, and the season wasn’t complete?

Ultimately the league returned with 24 teams getting “in” — eight would get a bye into Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the remaining 16 would play a best-of-five qualifying round series to advance. The losers of those series would then fall back into lottery contention.

When the first lottery was drawn, we only knew seven of the teams involved: Detroit, Ottawa, Buffalo, Los Angeles, Anaheim, New Jersey and San Jose (though Ottawa held their pick). The other eight teams were represented by a “placeholder” tag to stand in for the qualifying round losers who would be determined at a later date. If the placeholder team was drawn for any of the top three draft positions, a second lottery needed to be held for the eight teams eliminated in qualifying.

So, of course, one of these placeholders “won” the first overall pick, which is why we need a second draw now.


This is only involving the eight teams that were eliminated from the qualifying round: Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Minnesota, Florida and the NY Rangers. One of those teams will pick first overall at this year’s draft. All of the others in this lottery will be slotted in reverse order of points percentage finish in the regular season, starting at the ninth overall pick. By the end of Monday night, we’ll know the order of the first 15 picks of the 2020 NHL Draft.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had the best points percentage of any eliminated team in the regular season, so if they do not win the first overall pick, they’ll lock in at 15th overall. Edmonton had the next-highest points percentage, so if neither the Penguins or Oilers win the first pick, Edmonton will end up 14th overall. And so on.

The Wild had the lowest points percentage in this group, so if they don’t win the first pick, they’ll slot in at ninth overall.

The interesting thing here is that, unlike how the draft lottery usually works, this one will not be weighted by regular season success. The Wild will have no better odds to wind up with the first overall pick than the Penguins, Oilers or Maple Leafs.

Each of the eight teams in Monday’s lottery have an even 12.5 per cent chance of winning.

The reveal and how the team is picked will also work a little differently.

In a normal NHL draft lottery, it’s not one “ping pong ball” that gets pulled out, but rather a sequence of four numbers. Each team is assigned a certain number of combinations — the lower in the standings you finished, the more you get. And whichever team holds that winning collection of four numbers wins the lottery.

But on Monday night it’s much simpler than that. One ping pong ball will be pulled and the winning team’s logo revealed.

There is no dramatic card countdown reveal from Bill Daly this time.


If the Edmonton Oilers win the lottery and pick first overall again, the hockey world outside of the city will go mad. The Oilers picked first overall four times in six years between 2010 and 2015 and since then there have been calls to put a limit on how many times a team can pick first over a certain time period. No changes have been made yet, so Edmonton is again mixed up in all of this.

Can you imagine the playmaking Alexis Lafreniere on Connor McDavid’s or Leon Draisaitl’s wing? And on an entry-level contract? The lottery result would be an eye-roll, but the pressure to win would get ramped up to new high levels in Edmonton.

How about Pittsburgh? They’ve won just one of their last eight playoff games and have quickly been dispatched two playoffs in a row. Perhaps they’re more in need of this than we think, but then again, they were seventh in the NHL by points percentage this season and have star power of their own. Lafreniere next to Evgeni Malkin? Or how about next to Sidney Crosby, who came out of the same Rimouski Oceanic program? Lafreniere also became the second player ever to win CHL Player of the Year honours twice, joining Crosby.

And now, of course, we have the Toronto Maple Leafs, who will be facing many off-season questions about the roster’s make up. If they were to land Lafreniere to add to the wing, does it make it any more likely that William Nylander or even Mitch Marner could be dealt?

The wild thing about how this ended up shaking out is that Lafreniere will likely land on a pretty good team. There’s a 50 per cent chance he’ll go to Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto or Winnipeg.

In Winnipeg, there are visions of him joining Mark Scheifele, or playing opposite Patrik Laine. In Nashville, he would join a top-six that looks good on paper, but was generally disappointing this season. Still, with the Preds’ strong defence and overall team depth, a player like Lafreniere could quickly get them back on track. Even the New York Rangers seem primed to break out in a big way before long. Put Lafreniere there and it could happen as soon as 2020-21.


Whoever wins the draft lottery will choose first overall, but there are other conditions on some of these picks if they end up slotting elsewhere.

Pittsburgh: As part of the Jason Zucker trade this season, the Penguins conditionally moved their 2020 first-rounder to Minnesota. If the pick ends up 1-15 (which it will now), the Penguins will have seven days after the lottery to decide whether or not to give it up to the Wild. If they choose to keep it, Minnesota will get Pittsburgh’s 2021 first-round pick regardless of finish.

Toronto: As a result of the Patrick Marleau trade to Carolina (who then bought him out) the Leafs have to give up their 2020 first-round pick unless it winds up in the top 10. The only way that can happen is if they win the lottery. So if the Leafs’ lottery ball is not pulled on Monday, Carolina will get their pick.


From pre-season to now, the No. 1 prospect has been Lafreniere. Known for his smarts and his complete skillset, he’ll be a game-changer for any team lucky enough to draft him.

Fellow forwards Quinton Byfield and Tim Stutzle also have franchise-player potential themselves, while this class’s strongest skater, Jamie Drysdale, looks likely to be the first defender off the board.

If Monday night’s lottery winner does not pick Lafreniere — after a 35-goal, 112-point season in 52 games — it would be a shock.


If all goes smoothly and according to plan, the draft is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-10 and will be a virtual event.

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Habs Headlines: Veteran vs. Rookie goalie battle key in first round – Habs Eyes on the Prize



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In today’s links, the goaltending battle between veteran and rookie will be key against the Flyers, Philadelphia is sure to be formidable opponents, the Bruins aren’t concerned about their round-robin performance, and more.

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