2021 WJC: Three Storylines to watch unfold during Semi-Final games

Bowen Byram #4 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Bowen Byram #4 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
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Devon Levi (1)
Goaltender Devon Levi #1 of Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

1. Rich History

Team Canada Vs. Russia (6:00 p.m. ET)

There is always something magical about showdowns between Team Canada and Russia at the World Junior Championship, and today’s Semi-Final matchup should be no different given what is at stake.

After all, this is a repeat of last year’s Gold Medal game in which Team Canada came out on top, and this absolutely stacked roster will be hoping to come out on top in the tournament for the second consecutive year.

It was one hell of a spectacle in 2020, too, with Russia boasting a 3-1 lead in the third period, only for Team Canada to fight back and finish with a flourish as LA Kings prospect Akil Thomas scored a sublime backhander to seal the win and the Gold Medal.

Russia celebrates their victory. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Only six players returned for Team Canada from last year’s success so there will be a lot of players hungry to win Gold for the first time, while Russia will no doubt be out for revenge despite only having three players return from that Silver Medal winning team, including Nashville Predators goalie Yaroslav Askarov, who was selected by the Nashville Predators with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.

So, there is going to be a lot of spice riding on tonight’s matchup and it should be a hugely compelling and tightly-contested game given the talent on both rosters.

Buffalo Sabres prospect Dylan Cozens leads the entire 2021 WJC in goals with seven, Devon Levi has been the best goaltender in the tournament with a 0.64 GAA and two shutouts, including stopping all 29 shots against the Czech Republic in the Quarter-Final, and Vegas Golden Knights forward Peyton Krebs has really broken out with 8 points (3 G, 5 A) in 5 games.

Team Canada is just an absolute juggernaut and, if they can solve a cold power play, which has gone 0-for-6 in the last two games, and crack what has been a hot Russian penalty kill, which is 16-for-17 (94.12), then that should be enough to ensure that they are in the Gold Medal game once again.

dark. Next. 5 Storylines as NHL Training Camps open

Potentially against Team USA, which is something we all want to see.

Make sure you stick with us for more coverage of the 2021 World Junior Championship, all of which can be found here, and we’ll be back on Tuesday with a full breakdown of the two Semi-Final games.