David Pastrnak: Georg Sorensen

Pastrnak building on experience with the Bruins at world juniors

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David Pastrnak setup three goals Wednesday night at the world junior hockey championship as the Czech Republic defeated Russia 4-1 in a must-win game.

The Bruins’ prospect now has a team-leading seven points (one goal and six assists) heading into Friday’s quarterfinals against Slovakia.

Pastrnak, the 25th overall pick at last June’s draft, appeared in five regular season games with Boston to start the season before being assigned to the Providence Bruins of the American Hockey League. The 18-year-old says his experience in the NHL is helping him even at the international level.

“It helps me a lot,” he said. “I played on the team with stars in the NHL so I picked up a lot of experience. I tried to learn as much as I can. (World juniors) is very different hockey than the NHL, but the experience has helped me a lot and I’m trying to get better every day.”

Entering Wednesday’s game Pastrnak said the team has been feeling pressure from the Czech Republic after being out-scored 10-4 in preliminary round losses to Sweden and Switzerland. The Czechs used overtime to edge the Danes 4-3 prior to Wednesday’s win which secured them a berth in the final four.

“We felt some pressure from back home,” said Pastrnak. “When you get to this situation, you feel you don’t play for yourself, you play for all of your country. All you want is to make your country proud of you. That’s what we said to each other, we have to play as one (unit) and do it for our country.”

A native of Havirov in the Czech Republic, Pastrnak had 10 goals and 27 points in 23 AHL games prior to joining the Under-20 team.

Pastrnak knows what to expect from the Slovaks on Friday.

“They are our neighbours so we have to get ready,” he said. “They beat us in a training game, but that doesn’t matter (now). It’s going to be about one game, the quarterfinals and we have to play our game.

“They’ve got a good power play, they play really simple hockey, but they skate well.”

The winner of the Czech and Slovakia quarterfinal will meet either Canada or Denmark in the semifinals on Sunday.

Report: Oilers to return Draisaitl to junior

Anaheim Ducks v Edmonton Oilers
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The Edmonton Oilers recalled center Anton Lander from the American Hockey League’s Oklahoma City Barons on Thursday night.

According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, the club is expected to return center Leon Draisaitl to the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders.

Draisaitl, who has already burned the first year of his entry-level contract, has two goals and nine points in 37 games this season.

The 19-year-old was the third overall pick in last June’s draft.

Lander leads the Barons with 31 points in 29 games this season.

The 23-year-old has appeared in one game with the Oilers this season.

In 95 career NHL games, all with Edmonton, Lander has two goals and eight points.

McDavid (hand) cleared for contact ahead of World Juniors

Canada Training Sessions - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship
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Connor McDavid took a big step towards his recovery from a broken hand when he was cleared for contact on Monday.

“It’s kind of been the plan for a while now,” McDavid told the Canadian Press. “The last checkup was a couple Tuesdays ago, and that’s kind of been the plan from Day One was to start contact on this date. Just kind of following the plan.”

He sustained the injury on Nov. 11 during a fight with Bryson Cianfrone. If all goes well, the 17-year-old forward will be available to play with Team Canada when the nation starts its 2015 World Junior Championship schedule with a contest versus Slovakia on Dec. 26.

“I’ve been almost bag-skating for three weeks. My legs feel great, the legs aren’t too much of an issue at all,” McDavid said. “Obviously still getting the hands back is coming along, getting a little better. The only thing that’s going to come is timing. The only way to do that is through competition and through contact and all that. That’s going to take a little time to get back.”

McDavid is regarded as a potential franchise cornerstone and he’s often projected to be selected with the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Prior to getting hurt, he had 16 goals and 51 points in 18 contests with the OHL Erie Otters.

Related:

We’re curious — are Sabres fans happy or frustrated about the 9-3-0 stretch

PHT Morning Skate: Carbon monoxide leak hospitalizes 81 at junior hockey game

Minnesota Junior Hockey League
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

A carbon monoxide leak at Poppy Waterman Ice Arena during a Minnesota Junior Hockey League game led to 81 people being hospitalized. (StarTribune)

Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $20,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Brenden Dillon, who San Jose acquired from Dallas on Nov. 21, has been a great addition to the Sharks’ blueline. (CSN Bay Area)

Sean Couturier doesn’t want to be known as just a defensive forward. Lately he’s been contributing at both ends of the ice. (Philadelphia Daily News)

Highlights from Pittsburgh’s 4-2 win over Tampa Bay:

The Columbus Blue Jackets might get Fedor Tyutin back tonight as they look to extend their winning streak to seven games. (Columbus Dispatch)

AHL Grand Rapids Griffins forward Mark Zengerle skated hard to make goaltender Richard Bachman pay for coming out of his crease to charge the puck (H/T Puck Daddy):

Dustin Byfuglien will continue to serve as a defenseman for Winnipeg Jets for at least a little longer. (Winnipeg Sun)

Dallas prepared to let Honka play at World Juniors

Julius Honka
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The reigning World Junior champs could be getting a big addition in their quest to repeat.

Julius Honka, the defenseman taken 14th overall by Dallas at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, will be released to the Finnish junior team if he’s not called up to the NHL by Dec. 23, the club announced on Tuesday.

Honka, 19, was part of the Finnish club that captured gold at last year’s tournament. He’s spent all of this year playing for Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas and has fared pretty well, scoring two goals and eight points in 22 games.

It’ll be interesting to see if the Stars do grant his release. The team’s defense has been sub-par all season long and GM Jim Nill’s said he wants to go with a youth movement on the back-end; that said, Honka’s still in his first pro season in North America and is relatively small (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) — pushing him up to the NHL level this early could be asking a lot.