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World Juniors 2015: Canada vs Russia gold medal game preview, TV schedule, rosters, & more

Can the Canadians end their six year World Junior Hockey Championship gold-medal drought? Russia stands in their way.

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Canada will face a familiar foe in Russia this evening, as the Canadians look for their first gold medal at the World Junior Championship since 2009. Regardless of the result, it will be Canada's best finish at the yearly tournament since 2011.

Zachary Fucale gets the start for Team Canada, which should come as no surprise considering his sparkling numbers so far in the tournament. Fucale has posted a .971 save percentage, along with two shutouts. He's allowed two goals in four starts. As head coach Benoit Groulx said "It's his moment. He's ready."

Canada has a plethora of offensive talent within the forward ranks, and it's safe to say that Nic Petan has been one of their most impressive players. Coming off a hat-trick performance last night against Slovakia, Petan now finds himself on top of the 2015 World Junior Championship scoring race, with 11 points. Behind him are three Canadian players, Sam Reinhart, Connor McDavid (10 pts), and Curtis Lazar (9 pts).

As for Russia, they will count on Ivan Barbashyov, Pavel Buchnevich, Vyacheslav Leshenko, and Alexander Sharov for their offense. The five forwards have accounted for the majority of Russia's 20 goals so far in the tournament, although it could be said that Russia has struggled at times to put the puck in the net. Seven of their goals came in their second game of the tournament, against Switzerland.

Canada bulldozed their way to the gold medal game, with a perfect preliminary round, an 8-0 win over Denmark, and a comfortable 5-1 win over Slovakia. Russia, on the other hand, struggled in the preliminary round, needing a shootout to beat Denmark and dropping games to the Czech Republic and Sweden.

Fortunately for Russia, the preliminary games hold no value once the elimination rounds begin, meaning that a hard fought 3-2 win over the USA, and an easy 4-1 win over Sweden earned them a berth into the final round.

On paper there's not much debate, Canada clearly has the stronger roster. Their defense is stronger and faster. Their forward depth is much more impressive, and they have the best statistical goalie in the tournament guarding their net. Of course, that's why the game isn't played on paper. Russia is no stranger to upsetting Canada at the World Junior Championship, considering they've eliminated Canada in three of the last four tournaments.

They'll need a strong performance from Ilya Shestyorkin, and a disciplined game from their skaters, but if there's one thing we've learned from international hockey, it's that you should never count Russia out.

Canada Russia
6-0-0 Record 4-2-0
34 Goals For 20
5 Goals Against 12
45 Powerplay % 29.17
95.00 Penalty Kill % 77.27

Puck drop is at 8:00 PM ET. (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
Nic Petan Connor McDavid (A) Curtis Lazar (C)
Brayden Point Nick Paul Jake Virtanen
Nick Ritchie Frederik Gauthier Lawson Crouse
Left Defense Right Defense
Darnell Nurse Shea Theodore
Samuel Morin Madison Bowey
Josh Morrissey Joe Hicketts
Dillon Heatherington
Goaltenders
Zachary Fucale
Eric Comrie

Injured: Robby Fabbri

Team Russia Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Vyacheslav Leshenko Ivan Barbashyov Pavel Buchnevich (A)
Vladimir Bryukvin Alexander Sharov Maxim Mamin
Nikolai Goldobin Vladislav Kamanev Sergei Tolchinsky
Anatoliy Golyshev Ivan Fishchenko Alexander Dergachyov
Left Defense Right Defense
Rushan Rafikov (A) Alexander Bryntsev
Nikita Cherepanov Vladislav Gavrikov (C)
Ivan Provorov Rinat Valiyev
Dmitry Yudin Ziyat Paygin
Goaltenders
Igor Shestyorkin
Ilya Sorokin

Scratched: Denis Kostin