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World junior final: 4 things to know

01/05/2015 12:46 EST | Updated 03/07/2015 05:59 EST
Another chapter in the legendary rivalry between Canada and Russia will be written tonight in Toronto when the hockey giants meet for the world junior title at 8 p.m. ET at the Air Canada Centre.

Here are four things to know before you watch the gold medal game.

Canada better on paper

The match-up between the Canadians and Russians does not appear even. Canada looked like the stronger team in the preliminary round, winning all four games while scoring a tournament-leading 21 goals and allowing only four. Russia won one game in regulation, another in overtime and lost two while scoring 13 goals and allowing nine.

Canada continued to dominate in the playoff round, allowing only one goal while scoring a combined 13 on Denmark and Slovakia.

Canada is ranked No. 1 in the tournament in scoring efficiency, power-play success, penalty killing and save percentage. Russia's only top ranking comes for most penalty minutes, but it does rank second in save percentage.

Goalies and goal scorers

Hockey games can be won or lost on the backs of netminders, and goaltending will be a key to Monday's final.

Zach Fucale will get the start for Canada. The Rosemere, Que., native is a perfect 4-0-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and .971 save percentage. Russia's Igor Shestyorkin and Ilya Sorokin have also played well, combining for a 1.98 GAA and .933 save percentage.

Canada has the advantage in offensive stars, with the top four point leaders in the tournament wearing a maple leaf. Nic Petan has 11 points, followed by Sam Reinhart and Connor McDavid with 10 apiece and Curtis Lazar with nine. Russia has a more spread-out offence, with five players earning five points each. The top Russian goal scorer is Alexander Sharov, who has found the net four times.

Rematch of 2011

Monday's game will mark the first time the teams have met in the world junior final since the epic come-from-behind Russian victory over Canada in 2011 in Buffalo. Canada led 3-0 through two periods before Russia scored five unanswered goals in the third to defeat the Canadians 5-3.

Russia's five goals came on only 10 shots on net. Canada had more shots in the game and fewer penalty minutes, but was unable to come out on top. Check out the game stats here.

Canada in title drought

Canada's junior teams haven't lived up to expectations in recent years. After a blistering run of five straight gold medals between 2005 and 2009, Canada hasn't struck gold since.

Canada's last title win came six tournaments ago, when it beat Sweden 5-1 in front of a hometown crowd in Ottawa. After that, Canada won two silvers and a bronze before being shut out of the medals the last two years.

The Russians have fared better, winning gold in 2011 and adding a silver and two bronze medals over the last three tournaments. Russia/Soviet Union and Canada have won 28 of the 38 gold medals awarded since the tournament was first held in 1977.

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