WJC Canada Postgame: Barzal Shines in Canada’s Opener

In their first game of the tournament, Canada took on Russia in an energetic and high scoring round-robin rematch of the 2015 gold medal game.  

Canada played a solid game, as Tyson Jost, Matt Barzal and Dylan Strome put on a show through 3 periods.  The team seemed to be working well together, and their play saw a noticeable improvement as the game progressed.  

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Carter Hart got the start in goal for Canada against the Russians, as he battled it out against one of the tournament’s best returning goaltenders in Ilya Samsonov.  

Tyson Jost scored a very pretty goal early in the first period, netting Canada’s first goal of the tournament and putting the Canadians ahead 1-0 early on.

Montreal prospect Mikhail Sergachev scored Russia’s first goal of the game at 9:47, tying the game for Russia midway through the first.  His celebration was, um… questionable? 

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Canada dominated in the shot column through the first period, outshooting the Russians 12-5 after 20 minutes of play.  

Canada looked sloppy at times in the second, but eventually took the lead off of a Dylan Strome power play goal after some nifty passing between Matt Barzal and Thomas Chabot.   

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A solid fourth line shift for Canada and some great pressure by Nicolas Roy eventually led to Canada’s third goal of the game, with the single assist going to Julien Gauthier.

Despite Canada’s somewhat inconsistent play through the second, they left the period with a 3-1 lead over the Russians.  Barzal was easily Canada’s best player in the second, generating an insane amount of offense for Canada on both the power play and at even strength.  

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The Russian counter attack was prevalent in the third, as they kept the lead down to 2 through most of the period.  Special teams played a crucial role in the third as well, with 3/4 goals coming on the man advantage.  Goal scorers in the third included Strome and Barzal, both with PPGs for Canada, and Kaprizov and Rykov for Russia.   

The final score was 5-3 Canada.  Canada prevailed in the shot column as well, outshooting the Russians 37-17 through 3 periods of play in their opening game of the 2017 World Junior Hockey Championship. Canada’s power play was dominant in this game as well, as the Canadians went 3/6 on the man advantage.  

Also, by the end of the game, this tweet had become a very real truth for those who tuned in.  


The Maple Warrior was easily Matt Barzal, who had a fantastic showing in the second and third periods.  Barzal tallied a goal and two assists for Canada, and showed off his exceptional puck skills and elite offensive sense.  Barzal was also nominated as Canada’s Player of the Game.  

An honourable mention goes to Dylan Strome, who had two power play goals in Canada’s first goal of the tournament.    


Canada takes on Slovakia tomorrow night at the same time (8:00 EST), as Slovakia plays in their first game of the tournament.  Canada should hope for a fairly easy win tomorrow, as Slovakia has not beaten Canada once in the history of the World Juniors.  

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  • smatic10

    Watched most of the game and tried to monitor Dube closely.

    This guy is not going to wow you. Let’s get that straight. But he’s quite an intelligent player with good playmaking ability and quick hands. The thing I like about him the most is that for a relatively undersized player, he doesn’t lose too many puck battles. I noticed that about him during Penticton as well. He seems like a player a coach would use during critical moments of games. He was out there to close out this game.

  • Strottie

    Barzal was a hell of a steal by the Islanders. Good on them to con a GM out of a seemingly bonafide NHL player.

    This horse has been beat to death by Oilers fans. The trade stunk then, and it stinks now. Can we finally chock that trade as a “big loss” and just move on from it? Reliving one of Chiarelli’s blunders every week or so can’t be healthy.

    The boys in red tonight played pretty well tonight, but the defense seems a little bit suspect. That forecheck is ridiculous though/ This team medals for sure.

      • 24% body fat

        watching that performance by Barzal (who looks like he should have been drafted where he was ranked. 7) and seeing Carlo in the NHL doing what he is doing, is why we cant give the trade up.

        This is why people still talk about trading down for pouliot,

        Could have walked away from the draft with an generational number 1 center, a right handed shot winger/center that projects as a top 2 and could be the perfect replacement for Eberle next year, and a 22 minute a night large right handed shot, rugged, great skating, all situation Dman. Instead we got Buffalo Diarrhea dump, because we can not separate our team from MacTavish and the oil kings connections.

        • belair

          There was a 0.00% the Oilers were taking Barzal. Mourn the loss of draft picks all you want but that player was never even a consideration at the draft table. Logic would dictate that.

        • TrueBlue

          PLEASE. At least you guys have McDavid and Draisatl and Puljujarvi. We’re currently making the same mistakes you did in that trade WITHOUT the plethora of Grade A draft picks and prospects at our disposal, PLUS — just to make sure the shotgun is aimed squarely at our foot — we’re making the same mistakes of the old Nonis Leafs, and to cap it off: we’re not exactly winning any lotteries over here. Meanwhile OUR fan base is somehow divided on whether we should even consider a rebuild because we’d rather honour our geriatric heroes.

          So yeah… suck it… remember that Barzal trade? 🙂

      • OTOF2

        As much as the Reinhart trade was a huge mistake from the day it happened I still hear people trying to defend it. “Its too early to judge Reinhart, defense take longer to develop” blah, blah , blah. Yet Oiler management said they made the trade for “immediate help”, not maybe / hopefully some day down the road he will help. Time to admit this trade stunk!!! End of story. Quit trying to defend it.

        • Smuckers

          The trade is done – nothing we can do about it. Win some, lose some – but I don’t blame Chiarelli for it as much as I blame Bob Green and MacT for pushing hard for this player. You know they had his ear.

          This is more of an argument that he should have fired these two knuckleheads but simply didn’t have enough time to get settled and familiar in time for the draft.

          Every trade after the draft he can take full blame and full pats on the back for the good ones. Let’s not forget where we are in the standings.

          • Butters

            That trade was a big loss. That draft could have set the Oilers up for years. Even if GR turns out to be a top 4 dman(which I doubt) the Oilers would still lose the trade.

          • madjam

            With McDavid , Draisaitl and Hopkins at center , what makes you so certain they would have taken Barzal in the first place ? I doubt they would have . I think they would have taken a defenseman or heavier type forward , especially at the time of draft . Reinhart’s status is still uncertain , but so is Barzal at NHL level .

      • Gravis82

        I haven’t. And neither should anyone. I will move on when he makes enough good moves to atone for that mistake. If not, then he deservedly still needs to be called on it.

  • Jimmer

    Reinhart is a late bloomer – said no one

    Honestly, you win some you lose some. You don’t think Anaheim is not constantly reminded that they gave away “Big Rig” for nothing?

    • Arminius

      Except for the fact that there is a slight difference in talent between big plugs Maroon/Kassian and the offensive dynamo that Barzal is trending towards more and more by the month

      • HockeyRulz

        Yes huge difference! Oiler Fans have learned this the hard way. A winning team needs size, skill and grit to win.
        Now lets cover size and grit. Grabbing the top 10 players when pooling players from Flames and Oiler teams together this is what we have:

        Adam Larsson, D 6pts – 106 hits, 205 lbs
        Milan Lucic, LW 24pts – 89 hits, 233 lbs
        Patrick Maroon, LW 16pts – 78 hits, 230 lbs
        Troy Brouwer, RW 17pts – 76 hits, 215 lbs
        Zack Kassian, RW 9pts – 73 hits, 217 lbs
        Tyler Pitlick, RW 11pts – 70 hits, 202 lbs
        Micheal Ferland, LW 11pts – 69 hits, 208 lbs
        Eric Gryba, D 1pt – 66 hits, 228 lbs
        Deryk Engelland, D 6pts – 65 hits, 214lbs
        Sam Bennett, C 17pts – 63 hits, 186 lbs

        Oilers (6 players) throw 482 hits with a total of 1,315 lbs supplying 67 pts
        Flames (4 players) throw 273 hits with a total of 823 lbs supplying 41 pts

        top 5 hitters from each team:

        Adam Larsson, D 6pts – 106 hits, 205 lbs
        Milan Lucic, LW 24pts – 89 hits, 233 lbs
        Patrick Maroon, LW 16pts – 78 hits, 230 lbs
        Zack Kassian, RW 9pts – 73 hits, 217 lbs
        Tyler Pitlick, RW 11pts – 70 hits, 202 lbs

        Troy Brouwer, RW 17pts – 76 hits, 215 lbs
        Micheal Ferland, LW 11pts – 69 hits, 208 lbs
        Deryk Engelland, D 6pts – 65 hits, 214 lbs
        Sam Bennett, C 17pts – 63 hits, 186 lbs
        Lance Bouma, C 3 pts – 49 hits, 208 lbs

        Top 3 players:
        Oilers throw 273 hits with a total of 668 lbs supplying 46 pts
        Flames throw 210 hits with a total of 637 lbs supplying 34 pts

        top 5 players:
        Oilers throw 416 hits with a total of 1087 lbs supplying 45 pts
        Flames throw 322 hits with a total of 1031 lbs supplying 54 pts

        looking at the two teams: Edmonton has 898 hits with 103 GF and 95 GA. Calgary has 706 hits with 92 GF with 102 GA. In the end we have the Oilers as the “bigger” team with more offense and better defense, as well as a better PP and PK.

    • OTOF2

      Kassian sometimes helps the Oil but only because they lacked grit. Outside of Edmonton he has little to no value in this league. His IQ is too low and his inability to control himself may end up to harm the team at the worst possible time. His 4 minutes of stupid penalties against the Yotes ladt week didn’t result in lost points but I wouldn’t want to gamble that very often. – especially if fighting for a playoff spot. Toughness without liability is a better option and there is lots of that available for relatively little money. There is a reason Montreal sent him packing. Hell, the Habs wouldn’t even let him report to their minor league team!

  • Spoils

    so GR versus Barzal is part of a wider issue for me – related to our upcoming pedigree, and chance to be a great team. Argue all you want, but to me the Hall trade just did not deliver returns it needed (for what we gave up). Watching Dubnyk and Gagner and Petry and Schultz succeed elsewhere leads me to wonder –

    does this team have enough?

    McDavid somehow gets even better, Puljajarvi gets much better, Draisaitl gets better, Nurse comes online in a big way, Lucic holds, Hopkins improves slightly, Ebs holds, Larsson holds, Klefbom nudges a bit better, Sekera holds, Maroon holds, Pouliot finds his place, Caggiula improves, Letestu into early 30s drops a bit…

    A LOT of these arrows trend up. The team seems to be a lower top tier team or an upper mid tier team now. As all these up arrows converge –

    is it enough?

  • llong33

    Brazal in 2015 and then Tyler Benson in 2016… Could you guys have imagined how fun it would have been to see the two of them in Oilers silk together? Hell, they could have traded down from 15th for a pick around the 20th and take Travis Konecny.

    Who I wanted the Oilers to take if they traded down. Who BTW has 36GP 4-12-16 33PIM in the NHL this year and is a Chiarelli type of player.. Physical and Hard to play against for an undersized player. Not bad for someone taken 23rd overall.

    Too bad.. now we gotta see a older Giffrin Reinhart who get injured in the AHL, has speed issues, panics with the puck along the board and often gets drawn out of position by the opposition forwards cause of his skating abilities. *sigh*

  • Derian Hatcher

    If none of us respond to @Arminius, the class-clown whom everyone used to laugh WITH when his was in grade 7, but now in his oil rig camp, everyone laughs AT, he can continue his immature,trolling, A$$ clown act.
    by himself. He obviously has a high need for attention and trash talk that he cannot pull-off in the oil field or camp or wherever the heck he is because the riggers would take minimum time to physically put him in his place.

    Whether the Oilers are 4 points up or 6 point down on the flames, it is obvious to those WHO KNOW THE GAME, that the Oilers are trending in the right direction. Full stop.

    Now, I am in full agreement with those of you who do not like the Reinhart trade, BUT, excelling at the World Junior’s does not always translate to an successful career in the NHL. Let’s see how how is doing in 5 years. I am hoping for success for him as he is a great looking player, and I do wish he was Oiler property. Time will tell.

  • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers

    The problem with the Reinhart trade is this……

    The Oilers did NOT need another LHD, the Oilers then were loaded with L D.

    That package should have been for a RHD and even the new comer Charelli should have known that.

    This was a botched trade that cost the Oilers Hall, Brazal and picks.

    That trade should go down as one of the worst trades in Oilerville ever.

    • belair

      In what distorted version of reality did that trade cost the Oilers Taylor Hall? This was a trade that cost the Oilers a pick and a pick and that’s it.

      Mathew Barzal might as well have been another left defenseman at the draft because he was so off the Oilers’ radar it’s not even funny.

      • OTOF2

        I can’t speak on behalf of the poster but I would conclude that if the Oil would have used those high draft picks to make a good trade for a defenseman that filled their need (instead of Reinhart) they wouldn’t have had to give up Hall in a move of desperation. So a second bad trade was made to try and rectify the original bad trade. It’s not so hard to make the connection.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      actually what PC was looking for at the time was young and almost ready for the NHL d-men left or right with our D being so completely bad and Reinhart fit the bill. PC could not have known that he would take another couple of years to develop.

      he was likely following Bob Green’s advice about him and how far along Green thought he was. can’t win them all. Barzal/Chabot/Svechnikov/Eriksson-Ek would have been great additions but the theory was that Griffin would be here and playing by now.

  • RJ

    At the draft, my preference would have been to try and trade up to get another top-10 pick. There was a ton of talent in the top-10, and some high-quality defencemen who are already playing in the NHL at a high level. Others would have kept the picks and selected the BPAs. Still others called to trade down and add some more high picks. None of us were right.

    Instead those picks were traded away for a left-handed, offensively challenged defenceman who looks like he may be a career AHLer.

    That’s on PC. He was the GM. The apologists are quick to shift the focus to everything else but that fact. “Too early to call it”, “defencemen take longer to develop”, “he’s made some great trades also”, “look where the team is now”.

    Just once PC’s interns that post on here should just admit he blew this trade big time and move on.