Canada vs Russia: 1st IIHF WJHC Matchup on Canadian Soil Since 2015 Finale

The gem on a full slate of world junior hockey action on Day 1, the Russians invade Toronto to take on the hosting Canucks in an important tone-setting matchup. Canada got a scare in its final pre-tournament game, just barely scraping by the Swiss in a 4-3 victory. The Canadians outshot Switzerland 32-14 but ran into a hot goaltender. They’ll have to be better on Boxing Day if they want to get their tournament started in the right direction at the Air Canada Centre.

  • Canada has medaled just once since 2012 but has never failed to medal when hosting.
  • The last time these teams met on Canadian soil, Canada beat Russia in the 2015 gold medal game.
  • Canada has 5 returning players.

Canada is normally dealt an easier opponent in its first WJC game but a sixth-place finish last year resulted in a Group B placing with other heavyweights USA and Russia. Canada’s roster this year does not feature the superstars it has in years past but it is still incredibly well-rounded. They are by far the deepest team in the tournament and will be anchored by centers Dylan Strome (2015 third overall draft pick) and Mathew Barzal (2015 16th overall draft pick).

The Russians are a more experienced crew featuring a roster chock full of world junior veterans. They have medaled out six years straight but are in tough to outlast a Canadian team that’s four lines deep and that traditionally gives the Russians problems in this tournament. This squad will most likely be in contention in the late stages but it will take a mighty effort for Russia to escape its first game with any points.

It’s tough to find a player on the Canadian roster who wasn’t either drafted in the first round or who isn't projected to go in the Sportsbook round of the upcoming NHL draft. The Canucks are the favorites to win this tournament and the -375 favorites to win their opener against Russia.

World Junior Hockey: Canada vs Russia Odds
Russia+1.5 (EVEN)+2506.5 (-135) OVER
Canada-1.5 (-135)-3756.5 (-105) UNDER

Odds as of December 24, 2016 at Sportsbook

Three-Way Moneyline
  • Canada -240
  • Draw +450
  • Russia +385
Odds as of November 24 at Sportsbook               
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