Breaking the game down

CHRIS STEVENSON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:33 AM ET

It comes down to one game for gold.

Twenty-nine games are in the books in this world junior championship and NHL scouts and executives have been scrutinizing players they have drafted and those eligible for this summer's NHL draft in Montreal.

Sun Media asked one scout to break down Canada and Sweden and how the clubs matchup for tonight's gold-medal showdown:

GOALTENDING

This will be a faceoff between Canada's Dustin Tokarski (.870 save percentage, 3.18 GAA), who plays for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL and is a draft pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Sweden's Jacob Markstrom (.954 save percentage, 1.25 GAA), taken in the second round, 31st overall, by the Florida Panthers last summer.

"I think the Swedes have a huge edge here," said the scout. "Markstrom has played extremely well. He's a big kid and he's got a presence in the net. He's capable of winning games all by himself. Tokarski has struggled and, to tell you the truth, it's pretty surprising they kept going with him. He's given up a lot of goals. But he's a competitive kid. He proved that at the Memorial Cup and with the way he came back against the Americans. But I would have to say he's been very average at best. The biggest difference could be Markstrom. They better get a lot of shots on him. He's the one guy that can scare Canada."

EDGE: SWEDEN

DEFENCE

Key guys to watch for Canada: Captain Thomas Hickey (4), P.K. Subban (5) and Ryan Ellis (8); for Sweden: Victor Hedman (4), Erik Karlsson (5), David Rundblad (7) and Sebastian Erixon (3).

"I don't know if it was all the talk by the media coming into the tournament or what, but a lot was made of (Thomas) Hickey and (P.K.) Subban as matchup guys and, really, they haven't shut down anybody. I do think they have gotten some real good efforts from Subban. I don't like the matchup of Sweden's forwards against Canada's defence. The Swedes have a lot of quick, little forwards and they are hard for the big guys to handle without hooking or holding them. As they get older, they'll figure it out and probably just run them over, but right now, they're having trouble with those kinds of players. Canada's got some big guys who aren't real quick. The Russians made them look slow as a team and the defence got caught a bunch of times.

"The Swedes are a little smaller on defence. Erik Karlsson (the Senators' first-round draft pick last summer) can really handle the puck. Hedman has underachieved in this tournament, I think, but he might have a great game in him. I think the two defences are pretty similar in what they've done here, so I would have to say they are probably even going into the game."

EDGE: EVEN

FORWARDS

Key guys to watch for Canada: John Tavares (19), Jordan Eberle (14), Cody Hodgson (18), Zach Boychuk (11), Evander Kane (29); for Sweden: Oscar Moller (9), Mattias Tedenby (10), Andre Petterson (20), Magnus Svensson Paajarvi (21), Mikael Backlund (22).

"I don't know if Tavares is hurt or sick, but he was pretty hard to find against the Russians. I didn't really seen him until he took the penalty shot (in the shootout). I expect him to be better (today). I've liked the Hodgson line (he's been playing with Boychuk and Eberle). It's been pretty consistent. Eberle has been really good. He's small, but he can score. I've liked the way Evander Kane has come in and played a role for Canada. But, as a group, I think they are going to have to be better.

"Moller is a scorer, that's what he does, and he hasn't scored a lot here (one goal), so he could break out. The Tedenby-Petterson-Ullstrom line has been really good for them, a really skilled line (combined for six goals and eight assists; combined +10). I think a guy to watch is No. 11, Marcus Johansson. He's eligible for the draft. He hasn't done a whole lot, but he's a real talented kid. I like Sweden's speed up front. That might give them a slight advantage against Canada's defence.

EDGE: SWEDEN

INTANGIBLES

This is the second straight year Canada and Sweden have met in the gold-medal game. Canada won last year 3-2 in overtime. The Swedes have five players back from last year's team: Joakim Andersson, Backlund, Hedman, Moller and Svensson Paajarvi. Canada has four returnees: Hickey, Subban, Boychuk and Tavares.

"Sweden should be motivated from last year because they thought they had the better team. This is the area where Canada can make up for their shortcomings in goal and on the blue line. The key for Canada is to play smart as a team, play physical and what it comes down to is playing physical without taking penalties. I think they can probably intimidate the Swedes and they'll have the crowd on their side. I think if Canada out-competes them like they normally do, they should be in good shape."

EDGE: CANADA


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