Bettors will need to wager more than a small fortune to make any meaningful profit on Canada, which is an unbelievable favorite against a Great Britain.
It isn’t the start Team Canada wanted to get off to at the IIHF World Hockey Championship – but Friday’s surprising 3-1 setback to Finland should only make the Canadians more intent on making a statement Sunday as they tangle with Great Britain. Canada looked dismal on the offensive end in the loss to the Finns, managing a paltry 21 shots on goal. Great Britain is also coming off a tournament-opening loss, falling 3-1 to Germany on Saturday.
2019 IIHF World Hockey Championship Betting
Bettors will need to wager more than a small fortune to make any meaningful profit on Canada, which is an unbelievable favorite against a Great Britain side that is expected to finish near the bottom of the Group A table. Of course, if you believe that Canada’s opening-game struggles are indicative of a larger issue and see the Brits as a strong upset play, you’ll get +2600 on a Great Britain victory while the tie is set at +1200.
What went wrong? The loss of Toronto Maple Leafs forward John Tavares to an oblique injury that knocked him out of the world championship certainly didn’t help, but a team boasting this much talent should be able to produce more than 21 shots against a Finnish side with just two NHL players. Vegas forward Jonathan Marchessault had the lone goal for the Canadian side on Friday, while Penguins goalie Matt Murray turned aside 24 shots in defeat.
While it remains to be seen what the Canadian side does to shake up its offence, there will be at least one lineup change. Flyers netminder Carter Hart will be the starting goaltender vs. Great Britain, with New Jersey’s MacKenzie Blackwood backing him up; Murray will not be in the lineup. Hart had a strong rookie season in Philadelphia, posting a 16-13-1 record with a 2.83 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage over 31 appearances.
On a team loaded with Elite Ice Hockey League talent, the most intriguing player of the bunch is also the youngest. Liam Kirk, who was born in 2000, was taken 189th overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2018 draft and spent this past season with the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, where he had 26 goals and 21 assists in 63 games. But he was limited to one assist in five playoff games as the Petes were bounced in the opening round.
Great Britain was thoroughly outplayed in its opener – outshot 35-17 by the victorious Germans – but managed to keep the game tied until Yasin Ehliz scored the eventual game-winner just past the midway point of the third period. Mike Hammond, a native of Victoria, B.C., who had 75 points in 53 games with the Manchester Storm in 2018-19, had the lone goal for the British team, which is playing in the top group at the world championship for the first time since 1994.
Canada vs. Great Britain Prediction
Canada 7, Great Britain 2