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Practice Report

Team Canada strives for perfection at World Cup

Two-goal victory not good enough for team with 15 straight best-on-best wins

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- A quick look at the box score would suggest Team Canada has nothing to be concerned about.

Team Canada defeated Team Europe 3-1 in Game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 final on Tuesday. It led in just about every other statistical category that matters: shots on goal, shot attempts, faceoffs, you name it.

But try finding a member of Team Canada who thinks that same effort will be sufficient to win Game 2 on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, CBC, TVA, TVA Sports).

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Practice Report

Mike Babcock won't reveal lineup for Game 2

Team Canada coach quiet on who plays in potential World Cup clincher

by Arpon Basu @arponbasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- Team Canada coach Mike Babcock would not share his lineup for Game 2 of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 final against Team Europe at Air Canada Centre on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA, TVA Sports).

Babcock has revealed his lineup decisions the day before each of the eight games Team Canada has played in the pretournament and tournament.

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Practice Report

Roman Josi carrying heavy load for Team Europe

Defenseman has played more minutes than anyone during World Cup

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- For Roman Josi, the numbers are nothing new. He is used to playing the long minutes, the extra shifts, the power play, the penalty kill. Josi was eighth in the NHL last season in average time on ice at 25:29, a few ticks more than his then Nashville Predators teammate Shea Weber, who was next at 25:22.

With Nashville, Josi shared the burden. That has not been the case at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, where he's has played more minutes than any other player. That is partially because Team Europe is still playing, extending its run in the tournament beyond expectations. It's also because coach Ralph Krueger has relied on Josi more than any defenseman on his team, asking more of him than anyone else, while Team Canada's defensemen have been able to spread out the minutes.

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Sidney Crosby expects to see lots of Zdeno Chara

But Team Europe defenseman must face Bruins teammates Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron on Team Canada top line

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- When Team Canada takes on Team Europe in Game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 Final on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports), two matchups in particular will be of great importance.

Center Sidney Crosby likely will see a heavy dose of Team Europe defenseman Zdeno Chara, who has made a career out of shutting down high-end offensive players in high-profile games. The difference this time is Chara will be facing two of his teammates with the Boston Bruins, Crosby's Team Canada linemates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

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Mikkel Boedker brings speed for Team Europe

Forward replaces injured Marian Gaborik for World Cup final against Team Canada

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- When Team Europe set its lineup to take on Team Sweden in the third and final of the pretournament games of the World Cup of Hockey 2016, coach Ralph Krueger opted to leave Mikkel Boedker out of the game, in deference to the games that Boedker had played in Olympic qualifying for Denmark.

Team Europe defeated Team Sweden 6-2. The lineup was set heading into the tournament.

Boedker has not played in the four games that Team Europe has played, not in the preliminary round, not in the semifinal. But his skills will be called upon in the best-of-3 final against Team Canada, which starts Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports), after Team Europe lost Marian Gaborik to a lower-body injury in its game against Team Sweden in the semifinal. 

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Team Europe's experience could fuel upset

Veteran players know what it takes to defeat Team Canada in World Cup final

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO - When defenseman Mark Streit looks back on Switzerland's 2-0 victory against Canada in the 2006 Torino Olympics, he acknowledges, "Once in a 100 years you pull a win out like that."

With its collection of players from eight countries, Team Europe won't need as big of a miracle against Team Canada in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 final, but it is a heavy underdog in the best-of-3 series that begins at Air Canada Centre on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports).

"It's really exciting," Streit said Monday. "The stage doesn't get bigger than here. It's been a great tournament for us. We've surprised a lot of people, but we're a resilient group and we want to win hockey games. I think we've been better every game, we grew as a team and now there's a huge challenge in front of us."

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Practice Report

Anze Kopitar face of Team Europe

Forward from Slovenia perfect captain for World Cup finalist

by Nicholas J. Cotsonika @cotsonika / NHL.com Columnist

TORONTO -- The video played on the massive screens over the ice at Air Canada Centre on Sunday, the perfect preamble to Team Europe's 3-2 overtime victory against Team Sweden in the semifinals of the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

It told the story of Anze Kopitar. He grew up in Slovenia, a nation in central Europe with about 2 million people, about 1,000 players and seven indoor rinks. He dreamt of playing in the NHL, something no Slovenian had ever done, and it seemed ridiculous. When he wrote it down in a journal, his own grandmother crossed it out, saying he wasn't that gifted.

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Jaroslav Halak cornerstone of Team Europe

Goalie no stranger to international success heading into World Cup final

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

TORONTO -- This is not the first time that Goaltender Jaroslav Halak has helped carry a team to heights it never expected in an international tournament.

For the past four games, Halak has been the primary reason Team Europe, perhaps the most unfancied team among the eight at the World Cup of Hockey 2016, is still standing and preparing for a best-of-3 final series against tournament favorite Team Canada

Game 1 is Tuesday at Air Canada Centre (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports).

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Practice Report

Carey Price can thank Jaroslav Halak

Says he 'grew up a bit' after losing Canadiens job to Team Europe goalie six years ago

by Arpon Basu @ArponBasu / LNH.com Senior Managing Editor

TORONTO -- Six years have passed, and the comparison is no longer relevant.

Yes, Team Canada goaltender Carey Price and Team Europe goalie Jaroslav Halak will face off in the World Cup of Hockey 2016 best-of-3 final starting Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports). And yes, they once competed for the same net with the Montreal Canadiens, a competition Halak won during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when he helped the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference Final.

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Practice Report

Marc-Edouard Vlasic 'a human eraser'

Team Canada coach Mike Babcock praises defenseman who has formed stifling pair with Shea Weber

by Tim Campbell @TimNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

TORONTO -- Team Canada coach Mike Babcock said Monday he found the right ingredient when considering who should be paired on defense with the heavy presence of Shea Weber for the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

Meet Marc-Edouard Vlasic, the human eraser.

"Obviously Duncan Keith was supposed to be here so things might have been different," Babcock said as his team prepares to play Team Europe in the World Cup final. Game 1 is Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN, CBC, TVA Sports). "But because of that, you move guys around to try to have six set up to be able to play against anybody.

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