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Preds Prospects Make Good First Impression at World Juniors

Sunday, 12.27.2009 / 11:26 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Preds Prospects Make Good First Impression at World Juniors
Preds prospects faired well during the first weekend of play at the 2010 World Junior Championships, combining to post four goals, 10 points, and an aggregate +12 plus/minus rating in six man-games.

Gabriel Bourque, Nashville’s fifth round pick this past summer, stole the spotlight with a hat trick as part of a seven point effort in Team Canada’s debut vs. Latvia on Saturday. The seven points tied a Team Canada record for most points in a World Junior Championship game. Canadian teammate Ryan Ellis, projected by many to end up on the All-Tournament team when the championship comes to an end, assisted on Bourque’s first goal and finished the game with a +4 plus/minus rating. Bourque and Ellis will be back on the ice Monday against a more-defensive oriented Switzerland squad.

Speaking of the Swiss, Roman Josi, Nashville’s second round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft, helped Switzerland limit Team USA to three goals on Sunday (one fewer than the US scored in the second period of its Game 1 win over Slovakia), a 3-0 USA win with two of the three US goals coming in the final 7:25 of regulation. Josi will be counted on to log big minutes throughout the tournament. After Monday’s match-up with Canada, the Swiss play key games against Latvia (Wednesday) and Slovakia (Thursday) to determine the third team from Pool A (most likely after Canada and the US) to advance into the Medal Round.

Mattias Ekholm, a fourth round pick this past summer, has been steady on the blueline for Team Sweden, helping the Swedes to a 2-0-0 start. Ekholm scored a key goal in Sunday’s win, to give the Swedes a 5-3 lead early in the third period. Sweden and Canada met in last year’s Gold Medal game and are both heavy favorites to return to the Finals again this year. But Ekholm and Sweden will be tested more in their remaining two round-robin games: Tuesday vs. Russia and Thursday vs. Finland.

The fifth Preds prospect in this year’s tournament is forward Jani Lajunen, a seventh round pick in 2008. Lajunen, a fourth-liner on Finland’s entry in last year’s tournament, will be looked upon to play a more prominent role this year. One game in he’s already showed an acknowledgement of that, assisting on the game-tying goal with 5:14 remaining in regulation of Finland’s 4-3 come-from-behind win over Czech Republic on Sunday. With Sweden and Russia expected to place No. 1 and No. 2 in Pool B, Sunday’s win gave Finland a big advantage over Austria and Czech Republic in the battle for the Pool’s final spot in the Medal Round.

In other action around the World Juniors, Team USA opened with a 2-0-0 weekend after rallying from a 2-0 deficit to knock off Slovakia 7-3 in the opener on Saturday and outlasting Switzerland 3-0 on Sunday. After a day off on Monday, the Americans can wrap up a spot in the Medal Round with a win over Latvia (0-2 this weekend after an 8-3 loss to Slovakia on Sunday) on Tuesday.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33