Checking in on the 2014 World Juniors

Friday, 12.27.2013 / 3:04 PM / News
By Jimi Russell  - Nashville Predators

As the 2014 World Junior Championships opened yesterday in Malmo, Sweden, the Nashville Predators have six prospects vying for the international spotlight.

On Thursday morning, Zach Stepan (fourth round, 2012) and Team USA defeated the Czech Republic, 5-2, in their opening game of Group A play. Stepan, who left the game with a lower-body injury, recorded a +1 rating as his line accounted for two of the Americans’ five goals. Stepan remains day-to-day according to USA Hockey, as the American squad prepares to take on Slovakia on Saturday.

Host country Sweden and Filip Forsberg also opened play on Thursday afternoon, as the Swedes downed the Swiss 5-3 in front of the home crowd. Forsberg, the Swedes' captain, posted three points (1g-2a) on seven shots, as he was named the best player in opening game. After the Swiss scored early in the opening frame, it only took 71 seconds for Forsberg to respond for the Tre Kronor, tying the game at one goal apiece. The 19-year old would notch his first assist on Sweden’s third first-period goal, and post his second helper on the go-ahead goal later in the third period.

The Swedes return to the ice tomorrow morning to take on the Finnish team.

In today’s action, the Finnish team, which boasts four Preds prospects, used a three-goal second period to defeat the team from Norway, 5-1. Saku Maenalanen (fifth round, 2013) stole the show for Suomi as he posted three points (2g-1a) in the opening game.

With 47 seconds remaining in the opening frame, Maenalanen and the Finns’ top line scored on the power play, with Maenalanen picking up the lone assist. That line combined for the second Finnish goal as well, as Maenalanen fired a shot past Norwegian netminder Joachim Svendsen just 2:57 into the second period. Maenalanen found the back of the net again late in the period, when he banged in the loose puck to give Finland the 3-0 lead.

Goalie Juuse Saros (fourth round, 2013) earned his first World Junior victory for Finland, after carrying a shutout into the final four minutes of play.

Outside of the two prospects highlighted here, Nashville has defenseman Mikko Vainonen (fourth round, 2012) and back-up netminder Janne Juvonen (seventh round, 2013) playing for Suomi.

You can read more about the Preds prospects here at nashvillepredators.com, and you can watch select game from the 2014 World Juniors live on NHL Network and NHL.com.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
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2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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