BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 24:  Clayton Keller poses for a portrait after being selected seventh overall by the Arizona Coyotes in round one during the 2016 NHL Draft on June 24, 2016 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images)
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Team USA announces its World Junior roster

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USA Hockey announced its final 23-player roster for the 2017 World Junior championships that will begin on Monday.

Team general manager Jim Johannson said the talent level in the United States is currently among the best in the world, and their difficulty in assembling this roster spoke to that.

The team will be coached by St. Cloud State head coach Bob Motzko, and the roster has a heavy NCAA influence with 19 of the 23 players on the final roster currently playing collegiate hockey in the United States. Only three players are currently playing major junior hockey, while (forward Jack Roslovic) is playing in the American Hockey League.

Boston University alone has six players on the roster.

Arizona Coyotes first-round draft pick Clayton Keller (pictured above) is one of the players that headlines the roster.

Here is a look at the final roster.

Goalies

Tyler Parsons, London Knights (Calgary Flames)

Jake Oettinger, Boston University (2017 draft)

Joseph Woll, Boston College (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Defensemen

Ryan Lindgren, University of Minnesota (Boston Bruins)

Jack Ahcan, St. Cloud State (2017 draft)

Caleb Jones, Portland Winterhawks (Edmonton Oilers)

Casey Fitzgerald, Boston College (Buffalo Sabres)

Adam Fox, Harvard University (Calgary Flames)

Charlie McAvoy, Boston University (Boston Bruins)

Joe Cecconi, University of Michigan (Dallas Stars)

Forwards

Luke Kunin, University of Wisconson (Minnesota Wild)

Tanner Laczynski, Ohio State University (Philadelphia Flyers)

Patrick Harper, Boston University (Nashville Predators)

Jordan Greenway, Boston University (Minnesota Wild)

Joey Anderson, University of Minnesota-Duluth (New Jersey Devils)

Erik Foley, Providence College (Winnipeg Jets)

Jeremy Bracco, Kitchener Rangers (Toronto Maple Leafs)

Colin White, Boston College (Ottawa Senators)

Clayton Keller, Boston University (Arizona Coyotes)

Troy Terry, University of Denver (Anaheim Ducks)

Kieffer Bellows, Boston University (New York Islanders)

Jack Roslovic, Manitoba Moose (Winnipeg Jets)

Tage Thompson, University of Connecticut (St. Louis Blues)

The heavy NCAA influence on the roster is especially interesting when you look at who is not on the roster, especially when it comes to Alex Debrincat and Logan Brown.

DeBrincat, a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2016, is one of the most dominant offensive players in junior hockey and is currently working on what should be his third consecutive 50-goal, 100-point season for the Erie Otters in the OHL. He had a tough showing at last year’s tournament, but he is still a potential game-breaker that the United States left at home, something that has become a habit at all levels of USA hockey in recent years.

The Brown decision is probably a little more understandable because he has been battling a wrist injury this season that has limited him to only 15 games for the Windsor Spitfires, but he and Debrincat are probably two of the best offensive players Team USA would have had at their disposal.

The Ottawa Senators selected Brown with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NHL draft.

The tournament opens on Monday and runs through January 5. It is being co-hosted by Toronto and Montreal.

Flames’ Bennett, Tkachuk accused of slew-footing in loss to Leafs

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The Calgary Flames dropped an ugly 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, not exactly rebounding from an embarrassing 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Things were ugly in a different way toward the end, especially if you ask Maple Leafs fans, as Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk may or may not be guilty of “slew-footing” late in the contest. In each case, they¬†were whistled for roughing.

Bennett was guilty of the first incident on Connor Carrick:

Meanwhile, around the time of the final whistle, Tkachuk’s “roughing” of Martin Marincin drew quite a bit of ire. You can see for yourself in the video above the post’s headline.

More than a few people believe that Tkachuk will be on the Department of Player Safety’s radar thanks to this moment.

There’s no doubt that he’s been making waves as a pest – really, from his first game in the NHL – but some believe he went over the line this time. He’s second in the NHL with 92 penalty minutes, by the way.

Patrick Marleau’s magical third period secures Sharks win vs. Avalanche

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At 37 years old and nearing 500 career goals, there aren’t a ton of things Patrick Marleau has failed to accomplish.* Still, he did something he’s never done – and few players have managed to do – in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

The amusing thing is that it was a mundane night for Marleau and the Sharks heading into the third period.

They carried a 2-1 lead against the Avs before Marleau’s magical period really kicked into gear. In less than eight minutes of game time, Marleau managed an out-of-left-field natural hat trick:

He didn’t stop there, either, as he also hit the four-goal mark for the first time in his career … and again, it was in the same period.

That’s his first four-goal game (and period, naturally). It’s been a long, long time since someone enjoyed a period like Marleau did:

Speaking of history, this massive night indeed places Marleau close to another impressive feat. He’s now at 497 career goals, three away from the elusive 500 mark.

To underscore how unexpected this outburst was, consider this: Marleau generated zero goals and one assist in his previous seven games.

As the Sharks enjoy an era fueled by the ascent of Brent Burns and the passing of the torch from the likes of Marleau and Joe Thornton to a group including Logan Couture and Martin Jones, it seems fitting that Marleau – a player receding from the team’s spotlight – totally stole the spotlight on Monday.

The Sharks probably won’t complain, either. He helped them seal their fifth consecutive win, putting San Jose in a strong position to regain the lead in the Pacific Division.

Pretty good stuff from a guy who rapidly faded from relevance after being stripped of the Sharks captaincy.

* – How dare you make Stanley Cup jokes on a happy occasion for Sharks fans?

Capitals assert their dominance once again, this time clobbering Hurricanes

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after assisting Justin Williams #14 on a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Verizon Center on January 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals lead the league in standings points … and maybe in swagger. At least, it feels that way lately.

Monday presented their latest display of power as the Carolina Hurricanes had no answer for the Capitals machine. Washington clobbered Carolina by a score of 6-1, but at least the Hurricanes can take comfort in joining a rather large group of teams who’ve been humbled by Braden Holtby & Co.

This makes the Capitals 11-0-1 during a dominant run; they’ve scored at least a point in all but one game since Dec. 21.

Honestly, you can dice up their hot streak in a variety of ways, as Washington’s been outstanding since at least early December. Margin of victory might be the most jaw-dropping way to illustrate Washington’s dominant run:

Yep, that’s something else.

Dmitry Orlov was one of the standouts of this latest win, scoring two goals. His strong night and flashes of brilliance prompted Alex Ovechkin to … maybe go a little over the top.

Hey, when you’re on fire like the Capitals have been lately, it’s probably tough to make some pretty bold comparisons.

Things might be turning around for Lundqvist (not so much for the Kings)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13:  Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers after the Kings 3-2 double-overtime victory during Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.

The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.

The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.

Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:

(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)

While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.

They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.

The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:

Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers

Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.

Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.