Watch USA vs Finland big live stream FREE on Reddit match for today on 6 PM ET: It’s a rematch of last year’s gold-medal game as Team Canada takes on Team Russia in the 2021 World Juniors Hockey Championship semifinals. The Canadians have run the table, collecting five straight wins, and also blanked the Russians 1-0 in an exhibition game two weeks ago.
Hockey odds have Team Canada as a 1.5-goal favorite with the total set at 5.5, shaded heavily to the Over.
Here are our World Junior Hockey Championship free picks and predictions for Team Russia vs. Team Canada for Monday, January 4 (6:00 p.m. ET).
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Team Canada has looked flawless through five games as this potent offense is complemented by its commitment to defense. Through six games, including the exhibition game versus Russia, the Canadians have allowed just four goals and shut out their opponents three times.
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Team Canada has looked impenetrable at even strength, having yet to yield an even-strength goal through 18 periods of competition. If the Canucks can stay out of the box (all Canadian referees), the Russians will struggle to put up goals, something that hasn’t come easy to them this year.
Team Russia only managed two goals in the quarterfinals against a German team that had allowed 28 goals in its four round-robin games. Normally known for its offensive game, Team Russia has scored 18 goals in six games and lost 2-0 to a Czech Republic Team that was blanked by the Canadians 3-0 on Saturday.
Dylan Cozens opened the scoring, taking a chip pass from Connor McMichael and beating Nick Malik, the son of ex-NHLer Marek Malik, for his tournament-leading seventh goal. The Sabres prospect added an assist to take his point total to 13 in 2021; he’s second behind the United States’ Trevor Zegras.
Between the 2020 and 2021 editions, he now has 22 points and is in sole possession of sixth place all-time among Canadians in World Juniors play.
A little more than three minutes later, Bowen Byram — wearing the “C” for this game — extended Canada’s lead with his first of the tournament. The goal came four seconds after a Canada power play expired. Connor McMichael, who had been doing everything except scoring, added an empty-netter.
“It was a great game, we played a hard 60 minutes,” said Peyton Krebs. “It starts with our leaders, [Cozens], he set the tone hard. He plays hard every shift and the rest of the guys follow that. . . . The Czechs played a great game and it was a lot of fun. It was a playoff hockey game and we definitely answered well.”
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“That was tough out there. [The Czechs] really battled hard,” said head coach Andre Tourigny.
“They obviously don’t have the depth and talent of other countries but they have the heart and they play hard and they were tough to play against. So, a lot of credit to them.
“And on our side, that was perfect. I like that better. We had to work hard and we had to dig in and we had pressure.
We needed to regroup at some point because . . . maybe we were frustrated or, I won’t say panic, but you push, you’re frustrated, you need one good thing to happen and it’s tough to make it happen.
We were pressing a little bit. It’s good to go through that. World Juniors is adversity and today we had adversity and we overcame it, so I’m happy.”
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USA vs Finland 2021 Prediction
It’s hard not to take Team Canada, as it has looked much better than its opposition. They are giving nothing away on the defensive end and their combination of size and skill has helped develop an incredible cycle-game that has worn down every country they’ve faced.
Getting Team Canada at -1.5 feels like a steal after the higher puck lines that were set before it.
The road to gold, to back-to-back gold, officially opened for Canada on Saturday, and the team advanced with a 3-0 quarterfinal victory over the Czech Republic.
USA vs Finland Final Word
Canada entered the contest having won Group A with four consecutive victories by a combined 33-4 score. Compared to those contests, this one was a lot closer. It took more than eight minutes for the Canadians to score; in each of the four preliminary games, the Canadians were on the board within the first five minutes.
The Czechs also outshot the Canadians in the first period, marking the first time that has happened in 2021. But when the horn sounded to end that opening frame, Canada was up 2-0.