Lightning prospect Brayden Point’s patience pays off at world juniors

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No one wants to be the extra forward.

However, when Canada named Brayden Point its’ 13th forward for the world junior hockey championship, they used the Martin St. Louis’ example. St. Louis was part of a group of forwards, who rotated as the extra forward for Canada at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

“The coaching staff told me about Martin St. Louis (at the Olympics),” said Point. “That’s a guy that’s making $6 million a year. It’s part of the team.”

The 18-year-old, who has 17 goals and 44 points with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League, was in unfamiliar territory when the Under-20 tournament began Boxing Day.

“It’s a little different for sure, but I don’t think it’s tough. It’s awesome when we’re winning games,” he said. “The goal is the gold medal so it’s definitely not tough to watch other guys compete.”

Being patient and waiting for an opportunity has paid off for Point, who was selected in the third round (79th overall) by Tampa Bay at last June’s draft.

During the first period of Canada’s 8-0 quarterfinal win over Denmark Friday, St. Louis Blues’ prospect Robbi Fabbri was sidelined with a high ankle sprain. Fabbri, the Blues’ first round pick (21st overall) in 2014, will miss the remainder of the tournament. In Fabbri’s absence, Point was promoted.

“I’m disappointed obviously for Robby cause it is a huge loss for our team,” said Canadian coach, Benoit Groulx. “But I think Pointer has been very good with us since camp opened.”

Point netted his second of the tournament giving Canada a 7-0 lead during the third period Friday.

I thought I played pretty well going into a bigger role,” said Point. “You never like to see anyone go down.”

With Fabbri out, Groulx juggled his lines moving Point up to join Ottawa Senators prospect Curtis Lazar and top prospect Connor McDavid.

“I just think Connor needs that a little bit with them, a guy that can play with him, that can make plays with him,” explained Groulx. “We like to balance our lines with speed, with size, with skill.”

Added Lazar, Canada’s captain: “Brayden Point did a great job of stepping in. He fit in nicely with me and Connor, we were happy to get him a goal. He’s been a competitor and a player, for something to happen like that, it is the game of hockey and the way she goes sometimes but now there’s extra more motivation to win it for him.”

Canada plays Slovakia in Sunday’s semifinal. The Canadians have not won gold at the tournament since 2009.

World Juniors: Team Canada dominates Denmark, advances to semifinal

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Denmark, the underdog, had the first few shots on goal against Team Canada. But the Canadian talent was far too much and it didn’t take long for the likes of Connor McDavid and Curtis Lazar to take over.

As expected, Canada dominated Denmark in an 8-0 win to advance to the semifinal of the 2015 World Junior Championship. Canada will now face Slovakia, with the winner of that game advancing to the gold-medal contest against either Russia or Sweden.

McDavid, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft, and Lazar, who has played in 27 games for the Ottawa Senators this season, led the way with three points each.

Canada opened up a 2-0 lead after the first, and a 5-0 lead after the second period in Toronto. That lead included a beautiful goal from McDavid, who showed off a brilliant display of speed and hands on a move to the forehand.

However, Canadian forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick of the St. Louis Blues in 2014, left the game with a reported lower body injury after an awkward fall in the corner in the first period.

World Juniors: Canada gets the best of U.S. in New Year’s Eve showdown

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They were chanting Max Domi’s name in Montreal. Given his father, well-known tough guy Tie Domi played for the Toronto Maple Leafs during his National Hockey League career, this was something rare.

Domi, a first-round pick of the Arizona Coyotes from the 2013 NHL Draft, scored twice, including the game’s first and last goals as Canada defeated the U.S. by a final score of 5-3 in an entertaining game capped off by a wild, controversial and frantic final few minutes in the third period.

Canada finished with a record of 4-0 in the preliminary round, and finishes atop the Group A standings heading into the medal round.

The big story coming into this game was the highly anticipated match-up of Connor McDavid for Canada against Jack Eichel of the U.S. It was billed as a battle between the two players likely to be the top two picks in next June’s draft. Both tried to steer clear of all the hype, although there was no denying it was one of many focal points in this game.

Eichel and McDavid each recorded an assist. McDavid’s helper came on a controversial goal from Curtis Lazar, who went hard into the crease to knock the loose puck past Canucks’ prospect Thatcher Demko. It was the subject of a lengthy video review, but the call on the ice of a good goal stood.

Video: Kaleta takes break from punching Cowen to punch himself

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Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta isn’t the NHL’s most prolific fighter by any stretch of the imagination, but he has been in his fair share of sparring matches, so when he saw Ottawa’s Jared Cowen shove Johan Larsson to the ice from behind, Kaleta rushed to the defense of his teammate.

Kaleta delivered a flurry of punches at Cowen, but his early edge was quickly neutralized. That led to the briefest of lulls in the fight, which ended when Kaleta punched himself in the face before going back after Cowen.

Was Kaleta trying to motivate himself? Was his aim really that bad? You can watch the fight below (pay special attention around 0:24):

If you didn’t see it, there’s also a Vine that focuses on the self-inflicted blow:

Kaleta and Cowen found themselves competing against each other later in the night and unfortunately they both lost their footing while fighting for the puck and crashed into the end boards. Kaleta looked like he took the worst of it, but he might still be fine to play on Wednesday, per the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington.

Video: Bobby Ryan’s high-effort hat trick

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Bobby Ryan worked hard and put his body on the line on Monday night, helping the Ottawa Senators even beyond scoring his first hat trick in almost four years.

That hat trick still makes for the best video, of course, so check out his trio of goals in Ottawa’s 5-2 win against the Buffalo Sabres:

This marks the fourth hat trick of Ryan’s career, and as TSN’s Ian Mendes points out, it’s his first since Jan. 12, 2011.