Slovakia take on Canada at the Steel Arena in Kosice on Monday evening (local time) in what will be the third group game for both teams in the IIHF World Championship 2019.
Both teams have a win and a loss apiece in the tournament to date, with Finland proving too good for each of these teams, having beaten Canada 3-1, then Slovakia 4-2. Finland’s 18 year-old Kaapo Kakko scored twice against the Canadians and bagged a hat-trick against Slovakia.
Host nation Slovakia started the tournament impressively, with a 4-1 win over the USA with goals from Matus Sukel, Erik Cernak, Tomas Tatar (of the Montreal Canadiens) and Michal Kristof. Cernak gave them the lead against Finland and Martin Marincin scored a goal to level the game at 2-2 late in the second period before Kakko did the damage for Slovakia in the third period.
As expected, Canada rallied from their defeat to Finland (Canada’s one goal coming from Jonathan Marchessault) by beating Great Britain 8-0 in their second game, with two goals each from Anthony Mantha (who also registered three assists) and Kyle Turris and a goal apiece from Mathieu Joseph, Dylan Strome, Dante Fabbro and Sean Couturier.
The margin of victory over Great Britain was in the range one would have expected against a team not used to competing at this level of competition and Team Canada will be aware that they face a far tougher challenge from the host nation.
Slovakia vs Canada Betting Lines & Pick
In terms of predictions for this game, Slovakia clearly has the benefit of home-ice advantage and of having had a day extra for rest and recuperation since their last game. On the other hand, Canada didn’t exactly have to exert themselves too much in their rout of Great Britain.
The Money Line has Slovakia at +400 with bet365, with Canada at -550 with 888Sport. That line looks very short on Canada in a game that looks set to be close, so backing Slovakia on the Puck Line +1.5 at odds of +140 with bet365 is the tip.
Pick: Puck Line – Slovakia +1.5 @ +140 (bet365)