Without a doubt, this game will be replayed for years to come as one of the greatest games ever played between Canada and the United States at any level of hockey.
The game certainly didn’t start off as being a classic game from a Canadian perspective after Team USA jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Canadian goaltender/Lightning prospect, Dustin Tokarksi had a rough first period, allowing two weak goals on long shots by Kevin Shattenkirk and Jim O’Brien but settled down in the next two periods when he made some great saves. He robbed Colin Wilson with a spectacular glove save in the late stages of the third period.
In typical hard working Canadian fashion, Team Canada was able to claw their way back into the game to tie the game after 20 minutes.
John Tavares led the way with a hat trick and has the NHL scouting community drooling at the chance to draft him in the 2009 NHL entry draft in Montreal. He has clearly established himself as the perennial #1 pick by outplaying other draft eligible players like Victor Hedman, Jordan Schroeder and Magnus Svensson Paajarvi to name a few.
There were three Montreal Canadiens Prospects (P.K.Subban, Danny Kristo and Ryan McDonagh) playing in this game.
P.K. Subban handled the puck really well and his first passes out of the defensive zone were tape to tape which allowed his forwards to attack the neutral zone with speed. He also made some terrific pinches at the offensive blueline and made solid decisions on the powerplay. Subban is the tournament’s leading scorer among defensemen with 8 points (G-2 A-6 +12), just one point ahead of teammate Ryan Ellis whose 2009 draft evaluation has skyrocketed with spectacular playmaking and quarterbacking of the powerplay with Subban.
Danny Kristo showed flashes of his speed, good puckhandling and played the PK which, unfortunately for him, gave up four powerplay goals, but it was hard to assess his overall game in his limited TOI.
2007 first round pick, Ryan McDonagh played tons of minutes and didn’t look out of place. He broke up some odd man rushes with good positional play but was unlucky on John Tavares’ second goal when his stick broke while attempting a pass which Tavares intercepted to score on a pretty play.
McDonagh is a solid two way defenseman who does everything well but doesn’t quite standout with any particular aspect of his game, simply put, he’s solid without being spectacular.
It remains to be seen what direction Ryan McDonagh‘s development will go but he’s only 19 years old and still has a lot to learn before he makes the Canadiens roster in 2-3 years. The fact many teams have inquired about him in trade discussions bodes well for how he is received by the scouting community.
Canadiens.com: 2009 World Junior Championship:Canada and Sweden still undeafeated (Habs prospects stats)