United States teammates celebrate a goal during the second period in the bronze medal game of the world junior hockey championships against the Czech Republic, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
- The United States take on Slovakia, while Canada faces Czech Republic in the 2021 World Junior quarterfinals on January 2nd, 2021
- The Canadians are -3335 favorites over the Czechs in in their quarter-final match
- In another quarter-final, the United States are the -5000 against Slovakia
Canada and the United States proved to be the cream of the crop in group play at the World Junior Tournament. Both countries are overwhelming favorites to advance through quarter-final games slated for Saturday.
Canada are -3335 favorites to move on past the Czech Republic. This will be the fifth medal-round meeting between these two nations. The Canadians have won all four previous games.
Canada (4-0) has scored the most goals (33) and allowed the fewest goals (four) in the tournament. That +29 goal differential is also a tourney best.
The USA went 3-1 to top Group B. They show an impressive 25-5 goal differential, losing only to Russia.
Canada will face the Czechs at 7 PM EST on January 2nd, 2021. The USA-Slovakia game follows at 10:30 PM EST. Both games are being broadcast by the NHL Network.
Czech Republic vs Canada Odds
|Czech Republic||+1150||+4.5 (-136)||O 7 (-114)|
|Canada||-3335||-4.5 (+108)||U 7 (-108)|
All odds taken Jan. 1st at DraftKings
This will be the fifth tournament in a row that Canada and the Czechs have faced off against each other. Canada has dominated those games, going 4-0.
Those results include a 5-3 victory by the Canadians over the Czech Republic in the 2017 quarter-finals. Canada has won the past four meetings by a combined margin of 24-8. That works out to an average scoreline of 6-2.
Good morning to everyone, especially Lukas Parik #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/envm3OJdjg
— Mike Commito (@mikecommito) December 28, 2020
Overall, Canada is 22-7-8 against the Czechs all-time in World Junior play. Since 2003, Canada holds a 12-1 advantage.
Among the eight medal-round teams, only Germany (28) allowed more goals than the 14 surrendered by the Czech Republic. The Czechs were 2-2 in group play, but they did upset the favored Russians 2-0 behind a 30-save performance from goaltender Lukas Parik.
Peyton Krebs goes between his own legs for the goal! pic.twitter.com/ID2UpBq4pW
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 1, 2021
Canadian forward Dylan Cozens leads the tournament with six goals and is second with 11 points. Quinton Byfield (2-5-7), Phil Tomasino (4-2-6), and Peyton Krebs (3-3-6) are other top Canadian point producers.
Martin Lang (3-1-4) is the top scorer for the Czech Republic. He’s 24th in overall tournament scoring.
Canada’s 4-1 win over Finland in the Group A finale did not come without a cost. Forward Alex Newhook left the game with an upper-body injury.
Pick: Canada -4.5 (+108)
Slovakia vs United States Odds
|Slovakia||+1400||+4.5 (-106)||O 7 (-110)|
|United States||-5000||-4.5 (-117)||U 7 (-112)|
The Americans are getting the job done at both ends of the rink. They whipped Sweden 4-0 on Thursday to clinch the top placing in Group B. Tournament scoring leader Trevor Zegras (6-7-13) collected a pair of assists. He also shares the goal-scoring lead for the tourney. Cam York (1-5-6) and Matthew Boldy (4-1-5) are other top scorers for the Americans.
Spencer Knight made 30 saves for the shutout. It was the third straight shutout posted by the Americans, a tournament record for the country.
That’s especially bad news for Slovakia. The Slovaks have scored five goals in four games. It’s the lowest offensive output of any of the eight teams that qualified for the knockout stage of the tourney.
The Slovaks went 1-3 to finish fourth in Group A. Their lone victory was a 1-0 shutout of winless Switzerland.
Slovakia ranks eighth in scoring efficiency, seventh on the power play and sixth in save percentage. They scored three of their five goals against the porous Germans.
The USA is the only country that hasn’t allowed a power-play goal in the tournament. Not that they give up many chances. The Americans are the least-penalized team, spending just three minutes shorthanded per game.
On the power play, the United States is clicking at a 40% efficiency rating.
Pick: United States -4.5 (-117)
An industry veteran, Bob literally taught the course on the history of sports at Elder College. He has worked as a Sports Columnist for Postmedia, appeared as a guest on several radio stations, was the Vice President of the Society For International Hockey Research in Ontario, and written 25 books.