January 2nd, 2015 will go down as a historic day. Denmark has played 18 games in the top group of the World Junior Championships. They lost their first 17 (All games in the 2008 & 2012 tournaments) before defeating the Swiss 4-3 in a shootout on December 30th. Today marks an even bigger milestone. They play their first ever playoff game at this level.
Denmark vs Canada
8:00PM - TSN 1,3,4,5
Preview by Sunaya Sapurji
And it's against Canada.
Now, Canadians are a humble bunch when it comes to hockey, but sometimes they get ahead of themselves. Let's not forget earlier this year when Latvia almost denied Canada a trip to the semi-finals in Sochi. The little guys are the ones that will make you pay for any swagger you have in your walk, and would I count out the Danes? Never, but I'm a dreamer.
Nick Ehlers is an incredible player, the Danish goalie has faced more shots than anyone else in this tournament and posts a .914 save % and 3.41 GAA, which would be awful in the NHL, but isn't terrible in Jr hockey. The Danes only had a -5 in goal differential, and 2/3 losses went to extra time.
"We'll give it everything we got because we have to or it's going to be a difficult game." -Geroge Sorenson, Denmarks Starting Goalie
I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but, man, wouldn't it be awesome if the plucky little Danes put down their Legos, stopped stuffing their faces with Herring, and my God made the Canucks fear for their chances at gold?
The answer, is yes.
Oh, and the Leafs are in Minnesota, and that's on at the same time if you're a masochist and want to watch it.
Maple Leafs @ Wild
The Maple Leafs have gone 1-3-0-1 in their past 5 games, they beat Boston 4-3 in a shootout on New Years Eve, and arrive in Minnesota ready to kick off the new year with all new resolutions. Leo Komarov has resolved to not get concussed again, James Reimer has resolved to keep off twitter, Phil Kessel has resolved to keep being awesome, and Joffery Lupul has resolved to stay off IR.
Well, we all break our resolutions sometimes.
Good ol' Greg "Fartface" McKegg is up from the Marlies as Lupul sits this one out after being injured in the Boston game. McKegg has 7 goals and 8 points with the Marlies in 23 games, not bad for a guy with a leg for an arm and an arm for a leg (checks off last box on "McKegg jokes to run into ground" list).
Peter Holland will also be a game time decision, feeling sore (or still hungover, we know how much those Dutch like to drink).
The Wild are 1-2-2 in their past five, so it's not like we're up against super heroes here. Both teams are about the same to me, I haven't watch the Wild play since..oh probably that playoff series against the (Mighty) Ducks where Gigure went insane with his mad skillz, but the easy to read stats (plain, nuthin' fancy) tell me a Leafs win is more likely than a loss.
Here's your info from the morning skate:
Optional skate this morning
Bozak, JvR, Santorelli skating after missing practice yesterday
No Kadri on the ice, will be a game time decision
Bernier is starting