Ryan Strome

Canada survives scare from Slovakia at World Juniors


After Slovakia took Russia all the way to overtime on Wednesday, it was clear this wasn’t a team to be taken lightly.

Slovakia reinforced that notion today against Canada, even though it ultimately lost, 6-3.

Marko Dano found the back of the net early in the contest to make it 1-0 for the Slovaks.

Things then went bad to worse for Canada when J.C. Lipon was ejected from the game for hitting Tomas Mikus in the head. Mikus got revenge by extending Slovakia’s lead to 2-0 during the ensuing power play.

Ryan Strome managed to get Canada its first goal at 2:16 of the second period, but any momentum that created was squandered when Anthony Camara got a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging Slovakia’s Patrik Luza. Once again Slovakia made Canada pay by regaining its two-goal lead before Camara’s major expired.

That proved to be the high point of the game for Slovakia. Barely a minute passed before Morgan Rielly responded for Canada and Slovakia unraveled. Canada went on to earn a 6-3 victory.

After winning two games in a row, Canada will face the United States on Sunday. They will then wrap up the preliminary round with a Dec. 31 contest against Russia.

In other WJC News…

— Los Angeles Kings’ prospect Tomas Hyka netted the game-winning goal in the Czech Republic’s 3-1 win over Finland. That was a critical victory for the Czech Republic after its loss to Sweden on Wednesday.

— Sweden earned a 3-2 shootout win against Switzerland. Teams only earn two points for an overtime victory, down from three points in a regulation win. Still, Sweden is currently leading Group A with five points in two games.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.