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World Juniors 2016: Canada vs. USA preview, TV schedule, lineups, and game thread

After a strong start in the exhibition games, Canada kicks of the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship with the aim of winning gold for the second year in a row.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

UPDATE: Recap and highlights of USA's 4-2 win over Canada

You can find the information for the Canada vs Denmark game right here.

Team Canada travels to Helsinki, Finland looking to defend the gold medal they captured at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship last January. After five years of frustration, they beat Team Russia, 5-4, on home ice in the gold medal game.

During the exhibition schedule leading up to this year's event, Team Canada has already shown laser focus. First up, they dominated Team Belarus with a 7-1 win. Next, they had to work for the shutout against Team Czech Republic, where the lone goal by Rourke Chartier was enough to take home the win. They concluded the pre-tournament round with a wild game, giving up a three-goal lead to Sweden, but managing to hang on for a 7-6 win.

There are four players from 2015's winning team included in this years roster: forwards Brayden Point (WHL), Lawson Crouse (OHL), and Jake Virtanen (on loan from NHL Vancouver Canuks), and defenseman Joe Hicketts (WHL).

Defenseman Noah Juulsen, the lone Montreal Canadiens prospect in Canada's mix, was among four final cuts made after the win against Czech Republic. After the lack of defense in the tune-up game versus Sweden, people started to question if that was the right call.

The Canadian roster also features three goaltenders, one of which (Mackenzie Blackwood), will be sitting out the first two round robin games after receiving an eight-game suspension in the OHL.

Having settled for a disappointing fifth place last year, Team USA is expected to be a top contender for the 2016 Championship. It's a young, talented group that has experience in winning on the international level. Having Auston Matthews, the projected number-one choice of the 2016 NHL Draft, on their roster might have something to do with that. Matthews is expected to have the impact that Connor McDavid brought to Team Canada during the 2015 Championship and could be the biggest obstacle Canada will have to face to take home the hardware again this year.

Team USA medaled in three of the last six World Junior tournaments, winning bronze in 2011 and gold in 2010 and 2013. The 2016 Championship will take place in the city of Helsinki, where the country won its first ever WJC gold medal in 2004.

These two rivals have a lot to prove in their opening game, and will kick off the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship with a bang!

You can watch the game on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, TSN5, RDS, or streaming on TSN GO. You can listen to the game on the TSN radio network.

Puck drop is at 1:00 PM EST / 10:00 AM PST.
Team Canada Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Brendan Perlini Brayden Point Jake Virtanen
John Quenneville Dylan Strome Mitchell Marner
Lawson Crouse Mitchell Stephens Travis Konecny
Rourke Chartier Anthony Beauvillier Julien Gauthier
Mathew Barzal
Left Defense Right Defense
Travis Sanheim Travis Dermott
Thomas Chabot
Joe Hicketts
Haydn Fleury Brandon Hickey
Roland McKeown
Mason McDonald
Samuel Montembeault
Team USA Projected Lineup
Left Wing Center Right Wing
Matthew Tkachuk Auston Matthews Alex DeBrincat
Sonny Milano Scott Eansor Colin White
Christian Dvorak Nick Schmaltz Brock Boeser
Ryan MacInnis Ryan Donato Clayton Keller
Ryan Hitchcock Anders Bjork
Left Defense Right Defense
Louis Belpedio Will Borgen
Zachary Werenski Brandon Carlo
Chad Krys Charlie McAvoy
Brandon Fortunato Ryan Collins
Brandon Halverson
Alex Nedelikovic