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Russia and USA face off in the first important game of the World Juniors

Americans and Russians set for an epic battle in the battle for second place behind Canada.

Coming off a shutout, John Gibson looks to keep the good play going.
Coming off a shutout, John Gibson looks to keep the good play going.
Bruce Bennett - Getty Images

In the most epic of battles, Team USA and Russia will play today for the chance to finish in second place behind Canada in their group.

An interesting note on the match is that Montreal Canadiens prospect Alex Galchenyuk could have played for either team, but chose to play for Team USA, which probably makes them good enough to stay out of the relegation round, unlike last year.

Russia comes into the game with an extra day's rest after a close game against Slovakia that needed overtime on Boxing Day, so that freshness may come into play as the game drags on.

The Americans however, really got their offense going against Germany and may be roaring to get back on the ice. An early lead for the USA could be a killer for Russia.

Interestingly, along with Galchenyuk, the top three forward prospects from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft are playing in this game, as Nail Yakupov and Mikhail Grigorenko suit up for Russia.

Game time is at 9:00AM EST.