Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Huberdeau (pictured at last year's WJC) scored a power play goal and added two assists during a 9-3 rout of Germany in the opening game of the 2013 World Junior Championship for Team Canada on Wednesday. Huberdeau finished with a +1 rating, three shots on goal and got called for a tripping minor. Huberdeau was very busy creating scoring chances for his line-mates. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins looked absolutely unstoppable at times for Canada. The Edmonton Oilers center scored a goal and picked up four assists. Nugent-Hopkins was clearly the best player on the ice with Huberdeau clocking in at second. The third member of Canada's top line, Winnipeg Jets prospect Mark Scheifele scored two goals on a team-leading six shots. With the three point regulation win, Canada jumped into the top spot in Group B.
Click here for a detailed recap of the game from the official 2013 World Junior Championship site.
Some random observations:
- Jonathan Huberdeau looked very dangerous during the first two periods when Canada was going full bore. If the game was played in North America he probably would have drawn a secondary assist on the game's first goal. Huberdeau forcefully carried the puck into the zone during Canada's stagnant first power play chance. The puck came loose and Nugent-Hopkins picked it up and fed Xavier Ouellet for the goal a few seconds later. That goal doesn't happen without the hard work of Huberdeau. Containing the duo of Huberdeau and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is not going to be an easy task for any opponent and lowly Germany didn't have a chance.
- How good is that line when the third guy is Mark Scheifele? Nugent-Hopkins and Huberdeau were so fun to watch that Scheifele was unnoticeable for long stretches but ended up scoring two goals on six shots while playing out of position.
- One thing I liked about Team Canada's game today was that despite all the talent they were not at all shy when it came to shooting. If they were a little sharper early in the game the score could have been worse, a lot worse. Canada's Ty Rattie seemed to have a good nose for the net. He scored once and just missed a few other times.
- A lot was made of the recent struggles of goaltender Malcolm Subban but I thought he was pretty solid. The goals he allowed were good chances that the German shooters were able to finish. He made a few nice saves early in the game when it was still close to deny Germany any hope of an upset.
- Geman forward Leon Draisaitl, who plays for Prince Albert of the WHL, was very impressive for a 17-year-old player. He is draft eligible in 2014. This is a good player on a poor team that is worth keeping an eye on as the tournament progresses.
- Other games today - Group A: Finland 5, Latvia 1 / Sweden 4, Czech Republic 1 Group B: Russia 3, Slovakia 2 in OT.
Panther prospect Rasmus Bengtsson (D) a second round selection in 2011, had two shots on a goal and finished with an even rating for Sweden. Yaroslav Kosov (F) a fifth round selection in 2011, saw fourth duty for Russia. He had no shots on goal and finished with an even rating.