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Three Stars from Day 3 of WJC: Parik delivers shutout victory vs. Russia –



Underdog teams held their own against tournament powerhouses on Day 3 of the 2021 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Switzerland hung around for most of the game against Finland, who remained calm and eventually used their power play to pull away for an eventual 4-1 victory.

Slovakia outplayed Canada for large parts of their round robin game, forcing the latter to dig deep in the third period, hold off a late Slovak surge, and win their second game in as many nights.

The Czech Republic shocked Russia with a 2-0 upset win, the most shocking result of the World Juniors so far. The Czechs shut down the Russian offence, kept them to the outsides, and played one of their most complete games in recent memory.

Although there weren’t as many goals scored on this day, there were still several players who stood out for their respective countries. Here are the three best performances from Day 3.

Third Star: Devon Levi, Canada

After exploding offensively in their first game of the tournament, Canada’s second game was almost the complete opposite. Though they didn’t necessarily play poorly, Canada struggled to get anything going against Slovakia after Jordan Spence scored to make it 1-0.

Canada’s second goal didn’t come until under five minutes left in the game, and even then, Slovakia scored late afterwards to make things more interesting.

As Slovakia turned up the gas and forced Canada to defend on the cycle, Canadian goaltender Devon Levi had to be sharp in net. Canada’s defenders were passive in their own end, allowed Slovakia to set up in the offensive zone without much pressure, and at one point in the third, forced Levi to bail out his team on a Slovak power play that nearly saw them tie the game 1-1.

Levi was nearly perfect, though, as Canada escaped for an eventual 3-1 win after playing with fire for most of the game. Levi, who celebrated his 19th birthday with the win, stopped 18 of 19 Slovak shots.

Although the Canadian skaters will likely look to improve their play for future games, it was a relief to see Levi remain dialled in and focused against Slovakia. Levi has cemented his status as Canada’s starting goaltender for the rest of the tournament, and Canada will re-group before facing Switzerland in a couple of days.

Second Star: Anton Lundell, Finland

For the most part, Finland played very well against Switzerland, defeating them 4-1. However, Switzerland opened the scoring first, and Finland could have sat back and let them take over at that point. Instead, Florida Panthers prospect Anton Lundell responded with a goal 36 seconds later to tie the game back up.

The Finnish captain put the team on his back and guided them through the remainder of the game. Finland shut down any more potential offence from the Swiss, and Lundell added another assist on the game’s final goal.

Had Lundell not responded with a tying goal so quickly after Switzerland took the lead, this game could have gone very differently. Instead, Finland took advantage of the tied game to get settled in, get back to playing their game, and dominate the Swiss for their second win of the tournament. Now, Finland will get a couple of days off before wrapping up their round robin with back-to-back games against Slovakia and Canada.

First Star: Lukas Parik, Czech Republic

Ahead of the final game of the night between Russia and the Czech Republic, it was obvious who the underdog would be. However, the Czechs have won three of the last five round robin meetings between them and the Russians, and surely they would make things interesting.

After arguably outplaying Russia in the first period, the Czech Republic managed to keep the game scoreless, in large part to the spectacular play of goaltender Lukas Parik. Parik did not play in the Czechs’ first game, and likely cemented himself as the team’s starting goaltender for the rest of their games with his shutout Sunday.

Parik stopped all 30 Russian shots to deliver the Czech Republic their first win, and stood his ground during multiple Russian power plays, including one in the last minute with Russia down two goals.

He refused to bend after the Czechs were hemmed in their own end for almost a minute and a half in the second period, and maintained his focus after Filip Koffer scored to give the Czech Republic a 1-0 lead.

Tonight was a huge win for the Czech Republic, as they put themselves in a better position to earn a more favourable quarterfinal matchup. It was one of their strongest performances at the World Juniors in recent memory, and it started in goal with Parik.

Parik’s performance gave the Czech Republic the rebound performance they desperately needed after their loss to Sweden. The Czechs’ victory also guarantees a messy finish to Group B, with Russia losing this game but having beat the Americans a few nights ago. The Czech Republic will have a day off before facing off against the United States on Tuesday, a game that suddenly has significant stakes for how Group B will shake out.

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Toronto Maple Leafs game recap: Leafs remember who they are, defeat Ottawa Senators 3-2 – Pension Plan Puppets



The Toronto Maple Leafs came into game three of the 2021 season sporting an overtime win over the Montreal Canadiens and a two goal loss to the Ottawa Senators. Tonight was the second game of a back to back in the nations capital. It featured the regular season debut of highly touted prospect Nick Robertson, as well as the goaltending duo of Jack Campbell and Aaron Dell, giving Frederik Andersen the night off after two shaky starts.

Speaking of shaky starts, we get an offside call seconds into the game. It’s not that bad jsut silly. The first few minutes are a lot of back and forth, board play, scrums, but no shots or attempts. The Leafs start to get frisky in the offensive zone approaching the three minute mark; Zach Bogosian breaks his stick on a blue line shot attempt, William Nylander tries to put the puck through the side mesh. Jack Campbell gets tested quickly afterwards, and we get some nice safe play up and down the ice until Erik Gudbranson blocks a shot and the puck gets lots in his pants.

Mitch Marner receives a pass close to the net, but dangles one too many times before taking his shot and it’s easily stolen by Thomas Chabot.

Marner tries to retrieve the puck, but trips Chabot and gets called for it. Should he have though? That’s questionable. The Senators run a smooth power play but the Leafs are able to get in the way, block some passes, and when the Senators do get through Jack Campbell makes the save to kill off the penalty.

The game continues. Neither team is particularly putting pressure on the other, nor are they doing anything spectacular. Thankfully it’s not completely frustrating, though that’s probably because the game is tied. Auston Matthews and Nick Robertson get some good shots on net, but Matt Murray knocks them away.

Joe Thornton just completely falls over and slides down the ice. Forget goals, or fights, that is my favourite part of hockey.

Justin Holl easily strips Evgeni Dadanov of the puck, preventing him from getting his first as a Senator. HOWEVER the Senators regroup and Nikita Zaitsev shoots from the blue line, it hits Nick Paul in the midsection, which redirects the puck past Jack Campbell and into the Maple Leafs net. 1-0 Ottawa.

Pressure comes from the Maple Leafs in response to this goal. The puck is cleared up ice from the Leafs zone by TJ Brodie, Mitch Marner skates it in, drop passes to Joe Thornton and Jumbo scores his first to tie the game!


The period ends tied at one each. The Senators are playing like a team who have been together for three years, not coming out of the bottom of a rebuild, where as the Leafs have forgotten how to defend and pick their spots for shooting the puck (the spots should be closer to the net).

After four periods of hockey against the Senators, I really feel like I underestimated them. Hopefully the Leafs get their things together for a more cohesive and solid second period.

They’ll be doing it without Nick Robertson though, as he’s out with a knee injury after Drake Batherson mashed him into the boards.

The Maple Leafs got revenge though, as Mitch Marner quickly scores on Matt Murry to open the second period.

The Senators get a chance to tie the game as John Tavares gets called for hooking, but the Senators can’t get a good chance, and Jack Campbell makes the necessary saves, and the penalty is killed.

Thomas Chabot gets the Senators their first penalty when he slashes John Tavares on the hand – the hand he needs to shoot pucks too! The Senators do a good job killing this penalty until Paquette makes a hand pass off a face off to give the Leafs 12 seconds of a five on three. They don’t score on the five on three, Chabot comes back to defence, but the Leafs are playing around in the offensive zone until a puck deflects out and down the ice.

The Leafs power play has a great sequence that sees Tavares, Matthews, and Rielly have great chances but nothing gets past Murray. On the plus side they got seven shots off on that power play. Great work, even if it didn’t go as planned.

Going back and forth with the penalties, Ilya Mikheyev is careless with his stick and gets it up high on Chabot. The Leafs keep the power play at bay for 40 seconds until Marner is called for puck over the glass.

The Senators waste their two man advantage without getting a proper shot off – not surprising as they only had 10 shots up until the power play – and the Leafs kill Marner’s penalty as well, keeping the Senators from scoring or getting a shot.

Auston Matthews comes close to the five hole, but Murray closes his legs in time. The Senators get a couple weak shots, the Leafs continue to control the puck though, and the second period will end with the score 2-1 and shots 28-12 for the Leafs.

Also, this is how the period ended. Okay, I guess?

The third period starts with the Leafs getting two quick shots on net and Alex Kerfoot drawing a hooking penalty from Josh Brown, so they get their third power play of the night early on in the third.

The first unit clicks on this one and Auston Matthews gets a shot from the top of the circle past Murray for his first goal of the season:

The Senators finally get their first shot on goal – five minutes into the period – and it’s stopped by Campbell (shots are 35-13 now for Toronto). The Maple Leafs are up by two, and are spending the third period clogging the neutral zone, and protecting the lead. The Senators are barely getting any possession time, and even less offensive zone time. The Maple Leafs are showing up for real now.

Brady Tkachuk tries to get under Matthews skin, but now that he’s scored Auston is afraid of no one.

The Senators manage to get a second goal past Jack Campbell, and it’s a big one for them as Tim Stützle gets the first NHL goal of his career. 3-2 Maple Leafs.

The Senators have a chance to build off the momentum of that goal as Zach Hyman is called for high sticking as Thomas Chabot shows off his acting skills.

This powerplay is a bit better for the Senators, but Jack Campbell still won’t let them have a goal on the man advantage.

The Senators are pushing hard to tie the game, playing the Leafs more until Stützle gets called for tripping Jake Muzzin, giving the Leafs a late powerplay and the chance to put the game away. They don’t, as the Senators kill off the penalty without any scares from the Leafs. Drake Batherson shoots on Campbell, how kick saves the puck, but the Leafs can’t clear after that and there’s a minute long scramble in front of the Leafs net as the Senators try to score before the game ends.

They don’t!

Leafs win!

The first regulation win of the season for the Maple Leafs, outshooting the Senators 40-19. It started badly, but ended well. The Leafs ran the game in an unexciting way, got the win and now flee Ottawa for the comforts of home.

Game four is Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets*, 7:00PM on TVA Sports and Sportsnet Ontario.

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Game grades: Edmonton Oilers outworked, outsmarted, as Montreal Canadiens dominate them – Edmonton Journal



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Dominik Kahun, 4. He got off a decent tip shot on the power play in the second. But he was just one of the many smaller Oilers forwards who had trouble with the big Montreal defensive group.

Kyle Turris, 4. Another player who struggled. He got the first Grade A scoring chance shot of the game, taking a pass in the slot from linemate Tyler Ennis. Blocked a wicked Shea Weber shot in the first. Otherwise wasn’t able to make an impact.

Jesse Puljujarvi, 3. Was involved in the oddball n-zone turnover leading up to Montreal’s third goal. He got off a decent one-timer attempt on a Draisaitl pass late in the second.  Tripped over the puck early in the third, then failed to get the puck in deep, the play emblematic of the his game and Edmonton’s game. He was a culprit on two goals against, so not his night, not even close.

Tyler Ennis, 3. Worked hard but made no impact. Got beat on the backcheck on a dangerous Paul Byron rush in the third.

Devin Shore, 3. This line had a few good shifts, but not enough. Another quiet game.

Joakim Nygard, 4. Showed his speed a few times but not much else.

Alex Chiasson, 4. Battled hard on the power play, but couldn’t help his unit score.

Darnell Nurse, 3. Some major and costly mistakes this game from Nurse. He got a stick on Tyler Toffoli’s stick to turn a dangerous breakaway into a far less dangerous chance early in the first. But he went for the big hit and caused a two-on-one leading to Montreal’s second goal. Paul Byron beat him on the rush in the third.

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Bills down Ravens to reach AFC title game as Lamar Jackson leaves injured –



ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Taron Johnson could’ve kept running into next week on a 101-yard interception that carried the Buffalo Bills to their first AFC championship game appearance in 27 years.

Johnson’s pick-6 of Lamar Jackson’s pass with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter secured a 17-3 win over the Baltimore Ravens in a divisional-round playoff game Saturday night.

The interception return matched the longest in NFL history and punctuated a stellar defensive outing in which Buffalo (15-3) limited the NFL’s top running offence to 150 yards on 32 carries.

Jackson was sacked three times and did not return after being evaluated for a concussion following the final play of the third quarter, and two plays after Johnson scored.

Facing second-and-10 at Baltimore’s 25, centre Patrick Mekari snapped the ball over Jackson’s head. The quarterback turned and chased the bouncing ball down inside the 5, turned and quickly threw it away as Tremaine Edmunds had him by the legs and Trent Murphy fell down on top of him.

Jackson’s injury left Tyler Huntley to finish the game after being promoted off the practice squad.

Buffalo’s defence took the pressure off of a Josh Allen-led offence that was limited to 223 yards offence, and made up for rookie kicker Tyler Bass missing two of three field goal attempts _ a 43-yarder that was wide right in the second quarter and a 44-yarder that sailed wide left with 5:30 remaining.

The game was decided in the third quarter, when the Bills went up 10-3 on Allen’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs to cap an 11-play, 66-yard opening drive.

Jackson responded by marching the Ravens 66 yards on 15 plays before throwing the interception while facing third-and-goal from the 9. Johnson jumped in front of the pass intended for Mark Andrews and took off up the right sideline. He followed teammate Tre’Davious White, who made sure Jackson didn’t have an angle to push Johnson out of bounds.

Johnson, who also returned an interception for a score in a 26-15 win over Pittsburgh on Dec. 13, said he initially thought about going down after catching the ball, before seeing no one in front of him.

“I caught the ball and kind of looked down, but then I looked up and saw a whole bunch of green grass to that side of me,” he said. “At that point, there’s one person I have to beat. And that’s No. 8 (Jackson).”

Johnson wasn’t touched until a mob of Bills players jumped on his back and brought him down in the end zone.

The Bills advanced to the AFC championship game for the first time since 1994 on their way to making _ and losing _ their four consecutive Super Bowl appearance. Buffalo also extended a season in which it has broken numerous droughts by claiming its first AFC East division title in 25 years and, with last week’s victory over Indianapolis, winning its first post-season game since the same year.

The Bills will play the winner of the AFC’s other divisional playoff between Cleveland and Kansas City on Sunday.

Buffalo has won eight straight, matching its best streak since 1990. The 13 regular-season victories matched a franchise record set in both 1990 and ’91 in a season they set numerous single-season records on offence, including scoring 501 points.

The fifth-seeded Ravens (12-6) had their season come to an end after leading the NFL in yards rushing for a second consecutive year.

Baltimore clinched its third playoff berth in three years by winning its final five regular-season games. The winning streak came after a 1-4 skid capped by a 19-14 loss at Pittsburgh on Dec. 2 in a game rescheduled three times due to COVID-19 issues.

Johnson’s interception return matched Packers defensive back George Teague’s 101-yard fumble return in Green Bay’s 28-24 win over Detroit in a wild-card playoff on Jan. 8, 1994.

Jackson finished 14 of 24 for 162 yards passing, while being limited to 42 yards rushing on nine carries.

The Bills also limited Jackson to just 40 yards on 11 carries in the Ravens’ 24-17 win at Buffalo in Week 14 of the 2019 season.

Huntley, who had attempted just five passes in two appearances this season, finished 6 of 13 for 60 yards on three drives, the final two in which Baltimore turned the ball over on downs.

Allen was 23 of 37 for 206 yards passing.

“You saw our defence. The game plan our coaching staff put for that offence was unbelievable,” Allen said. “You don’t get style points for winning in the playoffs. You either go home or you advance to the next round. We’re on to the next one.”

A game that was supposed to highlight two dynamic third-year quarterbacks instead turned into a defensive struggle with the score tied at 3 after the first half.

The Ravens came up empty on two drives that ended inside Buffalo’s 30, with Justin Tucker missing his first two field goal attempts. He hit the left upright from 41 yards on Baltimore’s opening drive, and then hit the right upright on a 46-yard attempt in the second half.

It marked the first time Tucker, the NFL’s most accurate kicker, has missed twice from inside 50 yards in the same game. Tucker finally tied the score at 3 by hitting a 34-yard attempt with 4 seconds left in the first half to cap an eight-play, 57-yard drive


Aside from Allen’s 4-yard scramble on an aborted pass play and an end-of-half kneel-down, the Bills had one carry in the first half on Devin Singletary’s 3-yard gain to open Buffalo’s final possession of the second quarter.

Buffalo became just the third team since the 1991 playoffs to have a running back have just one carry in the first half. The St. Louis Rams had one carry in a half in a 49-37 divisional-round playoff win against Minnesota on Jan. 16, 2000. The Raiders had one carry in a half of a 41-24 win over Tennessee in the 2003 AFC championship game.


Ravens: Season over.

Bills: Advance to AFC championship game for first time since 1994, where they’ll face Cleveland or play Kansas City for a second time this season following a 26-17 loss to the Chiefs on Oct. 19.

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