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World Juniors 2015: Canada vs Slovakia preview, TV schedule, roster news, & more

Canada will once again play the role of the favourites, as they take on the underdog Slovakians.

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It's come down to the final four at the 2015 World Junior Hockey Championship. Even though most pundits expected Canada to make it this far, very few of them had Slovakia making it to the semifinals.

In single-game elimination tournament anything can happen, and let's be honest, that's part of what makes this yearly event so great. Slovakia had to beat their longtime rivals and favourites, the Czech Republic, to earn a berth into the next round, and that's exactly what they did. Denis Godla, who has played in every Slovakian game to date, posted a 34-save shutout, cementing himself as one of the more interesting stories of the tournament. Godla's .936 save percentage ranks fourth among all goalies, but considering the strength of his opponents, it's fair to say he's one of the main reasons Slovakia find themselves with an opportunity to advance to the gold medal game. Since he allowed five goals against Canada, Godla has maintained a 1.50 GAA, and a .960 save percentage.

As for Canada, they'll have the best goalie in the tournament to date guarding the net. Zachary Fucale has been lights out. He sports a .982 save percentage, along with two shutouts. He's saved 53 of the 54 shots he's faced, and you'd be hard pressed to argue that he doesn't deserve the start tonight.

Canada will be without the services of Robby Fabbri, who was forced to miss the remainder of the World Juniors, due to a high ankle sprain that occurred against Denmark in the quarterfinals. Fortunately for the Canadians, their forward depth should be more than enough to cover for Fabbri's injury.

In terms of forwards, there's really no comparison to be made. Slovakia's roster showcases a few NHL prospects, including Montreal's own Martin Reway, but the truth of the matter is that they're very thin up front. This is evidenced by their lack of goal scoring, only 10 goals throughout the tournament, half of them coming from their win versus Germany.

Canada on the other hand has been scoring at will, to the tune of 5.8 goals per game. The offense is sourced throughout the lineup, with every single Canadian forward except Frederik Gauthier scoring a goal for the Canadians. Max Domi, Sam Reinhart and Anthony Duclair represent Canada's most consistent scoring threat, combining for 10 of Canada's 29 goals in the tournament. Not to be outdone, Nic Petan has hit the score sheet eight times, second only to Reinhart in terms of Canadian scoring.

This will be the second time the teams meet, the first being on the opening day of the tournament, which resulted in a 8-0 drubbing by Canada.

Canada Slovakia
5-0-0-0 Record 3-2-0-0
29 Goals For 10
4 Goals Against 14
46.67 Powerplay % 9.09
94.12 Penalty Kill % 94.44

Puck drop is at 8:00 PM EST (TSN 1 / TSN 3 / TSN 4 / TSN 5 / TSN GO / RDS / NHL Network)
Team Canada Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Max Domi Sam Reinhart (A) Anthony Duclair
Nick Ritchie Connor McDavid (A) Curtis Lazar (C)
Nick Paul Nic Petan Brayden Point
Lawson Crouse Frederik Gauthier Jake Virtanen
Left Defense Right Defense
Darnell Nurse Shea Theodore
Samuel Morin Madison Bowey
Josh Morrissey Joe Hicketts
Dillon Heatherington
Zachary Fucale
Eric Comrie

Team Slovakia Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Robert Lantosi Martin Reway (C) Peter Cehlarik
Patrik Koys (A) Matus Sukel' Pavol Skalicky
Radovan Bondra Michal Kabac Samuel Petras
Matej Paulovic Dominik Rehak David Soltes
Left Defense Right Defense
Mislav Rosandic (A) Erik Cernak
Matus Holenda Christian Jaros
Olivier Jendrol' Marco Hochel
Patrik Bacik
Denis Godla
David Okolicany

Scratched: Branislav Pavuk, Daniel Gibl.