Last Night’s News 📰
OH, CANADA!: Team Canada won the 2022 World Junior Championship on Saturday, beating Finland 3-2 on an overtime goal from Kent Johnson, the fifth overall pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2021 NHL Draft. It gave the host Canadians its 19th WJC title, the most of any country.
MOST VALUABLE McTAVISH: Talk about a coming-out party! Not only did Mason McTavish lead the tournament in goals and points, but he also tied for the lead in assists. However, his biggest play of the tournament came at the other end of the ice when he made the save of the year for Team Canada.
BITTER-SWEDE ENDING: In the bronze medal game at the World Juniors, Sweden took third place with a 3-1 win over Czechia. Game-winning goal scorer Isak Rosén summarized the Swedes’ mixed feelings on their achievement: “Of course, we wanted the gold, but better bronze than nothing.”
A FITTING FAREWELL: On Friday, Edmonton Oilers fans lined the streets in front of Rogers Place to honor Ben Stelter, the 6-year-old Oilers superfan who passed away earlier this month. Rest easy, Ben!
2022 WJC Recap
The 2022 World Junior Championship wrapped up on Saturday night. This year’s tournament featured plenty of exciting moments, including an upset of the defending champion and a golden goal to win the title. Here is a look at the top moments and top performers from the 2022 WJC.
Team USA won the 2021 World Junior Championship and came into this year’s tournament as a favorite to medal alongside Canada. The Americans justified that favorite status in the group stage, going 4-0-0-0 and outscoring their opponents by a combined total of 22-4. But then Czechia, which snuck into the playoff round with a 1-0-1-2 record in group play, shocked the U.S. in the quarterfinal, eliminating the defending champs with a 4-2 victory.
Anaheim Ducks prospect and 19-year-old Canadian forward Mason McTavish was the clear choice for tournament MVP, finishing with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists), five more than the next-closest player, and tying for the second-most in tournament history by a Canadian player. Anaheim’s rookie, who had three points (two goals, one assist) in nine NHL games last season, also kept his team’s hopes alive 2:09 into overtime of the championship game against Finland, somehow keeping the puck out of an unoccupied Canada net.
(Clark) Kent Johnson
Kent Johnson played hero for the hosts, clinching the nation its 19th WJC title. The 19-year-old forward, who had three points (all assists) in nine games for the Columbus Blue Jackets last season, cleaned up his own rebound 3:09 into overtime against Finland, putting the puck in the net to win it for the Canadians.
- Points: Mason McTavish, Canada (17)
- Goals: McTavish, Canada (8)
- Assists: McTavish/Olen Zellweger, Canada (9)
- Power-Play Goals: Roby Järventie, Finland (4)
- Save Percentage: Jesper Wallstedt, Sweden (93.98)
- Goals-Against Average: Wallstedt, Sweden (1.62)
- Offense: Canada (5.86 Goals Per Game)
- Defense: Sweden (1.43 Goals Allowed Per Game)
- Power-Play: Finland (51.85%)
- Penalty Kill: Sweden (85.71%)
Last week, we explored some of the teams whose 2021-22 season could have been a lot different with a better showing in the friendly confines of their home rink. Now, let’s focus on the other 41 games that every NHL club plays. While there is less expectation of winning on the road, performance away from home can often be the difference between a good and great team.
It should be no surprise that a trio of clubs saw their fortunes change based on not having the type of road success they might have wanted.
Owning the Western Conference’s third-best home mark helped ensure a postseason berth for the Dallas Stars last season. However, having just the 10th-best road record in the conference won Dallas a first-round date with the Pacific Division-winning Calgary Flames. At 19-20-2, the Stars were the only playoff team to lose more games than they won away from home. Predictably, they bowed out of the first round in seven games after going 1-3 in Calgary.
We know all about the season that the Stanley Cup-winning Colorado Avalanche had last year, but did you know that the Minnesota Wild finished just six points behind them in the Central Division? It makes you wonder how different things could’ve been had the Wild been a bit better as the visiting team. Not that a 22-14-5 mark is struggling, but four of their last five road losses came by a single goal, and three came after regulation. Quite simply, these guys left points on the board.
Don’t bother to make sense of the Edmonton Oilers’ road record last season—you won’t. While nothing looks overtly odd about their 21-15-5 mark away from Rogers Place, a deeper dive gets weird fast. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had higher point totals on the road than at home. So, how to explain the Oilers’ seven more wins on home ice? There’s the small matter of the rest of the team. Edmonton players not named McDavid or Draisaitl managed 108 goals at home but just 78 away from it.
Player Spotlight – Nazem Kadri
After more than a month of looking and waiting for the right deal, Nazem Kadri finally found it, signing a seven-year, $49 million contract with the Calgary Flames last Thursday. The 31-year-old forward was one of the catalysts of Colorado’s Stanley Cup run this year, but what about his life off the ice? Let’s check in.
What Was Your Favorite NHL Team Growing Up?:
What’s Your Favorite Sport (Besides Hockey)?:
What Athlete Inspired You Most?:
What Do You Like to Do During the Offseason?:
Who’s the Most Competitive on the Avalanche?:
- Today’s newsletter was edited by Kyle Knopp, with contributions by Ben Fisher, Kristy Flannery, and Brooke LoFurno.
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