Top spot in Group A is on the line when Canada and Finland face each other Monday night in the preliminary round of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Team Canada is looking to go undefeated in the preliminary round for the 15th time since the group stage format was introduced in 1996 when they face Finland on Monday night. Finland currently sits one point behind Canada in the standings because one of their wins came in a shootout.
2022 WJC Canada vs. Finland Betting Odds
These teams have met 38 times since the first World Junior Championship in 1977, with Canada holding a 23-9-6 record (W-L-T) in the head-to-head series. They frequently meet in the elimination stage; over the last 10 years they’ve faced off in the quarterfinals twice (2016, 2019), semifinals twice (2014, 2020) and bronze medal game once (2012).
Canada and Finland last met in the prelim finale of the 2021 tournament, with Canada winning 4-1. That brought the all-time goal record for the teams to 151 for Canada and 98 for Finland. The Finns have won the only game between the teams to go to extra time.
Canada absolutely dominated Czechia on Saturday, peppering 57 shots on net in a 5-1 win. Mason McTavish scored twice, while Kent Johnson, Ridly Greig and Tyson Foerster added singles. Johnson dazzled with a highlight-reel lacrosse-style goal. McTavish has been spectacular through three games and leads the tournament in points (10), goals (6) and plus/minus (plus-9). Dylan Garand looked solid in net, stopping 22 of 23 shots faced. The one puck that made it past Garand came on a breakdown of a five-minute Canadian power-play. With Saturday’s win, Canada has outscored opponents 21-4 across the first three games of the tournament.
It’s a quick turnaround for Finland after they dismantled Slovakia 9-3 on Sunday afternoon. Canada better take note and focus on discipline because the Finns capitalized with five power-play goals against Slovakia. Kasper Simontaival starred with two goals and an assist, while Joel Maatta also found the back of the net twice. Kasper Puutio and Aatu Raty each had a goal and an assist. Roni Hirvonen, Oliver Kapanen and Kalle Vaisanen also scored. Backup goalie Juha Jatkola allowed three goals in 16 shots in his World Junior debut. Ottawa Senators prospect Leevi Merilainen is expected to start against Canada. Merilainen made 42 saves on 46 shots faced in wins over Latvia and Czechia.
Canada vs. Finland WJC Score Prediction
Canada 5, Finland 3