The real games have gotten under way and the other four teams have finished up their first games of the tournament with a bit of a surprise from Team Sweden and a dominating performance from Team North America.
Team Sweden 2 versus Team Russia 1
Anton Stralman – 0-0-0, +1, 2 PIM, 1 Hit, 2 Blocks, 22:11 TOI
Victor Hedman – 1-0-1, +1, 2 SOG, 1 Hit, 1 Block, 22:54 TOI, First Star
Nikita Kucherov – 0-0-0, E, 2 SOG, 15:28 TOI
Vladislav Namestnikov – DNP
Nikita Nesterov – DNP
Andrei Vasilevskiy – DNP
Team Sweden had a bit of a surprise as Henrik Lundqvist could not play due to illness. Instead, Markstrom came out and stole a game from Team Russia. Team Sweden had not played all that well in my opinion during the pre-tournament game, but were able to come together and play a solid game in front of Markstrom to keep the Russians to only one goal. There was also on goal that was questionable by Alexander Ovechkin that was waived off near the end of the game.
Through much of the pre-tournament, Hedman and Stralman had not been Team Sweden’s top pairing. Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson had that distinction partly because of their power play time. Hjalmersson had also played a lot of time with Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 5v5 and on the penalty kill, sometimes more time than Hedman and Stralman. This time, the Hedman led Sweden in TOI with Stralman being second on the team.
Victor Hedman would come through with the game winning goal to put the Swedes up 2-0 in the second period.
Nikita Kucherov ended up 7th on Russia for forwards in TOI with 1:34 on the power play as Team Sweden only gave Russia two power play opportunities, both of which they failed to convert. Kucherov wasn’t much of a possession force as he normally has been with the Lightning only contributing his two shots on goal.
Team North America 4 versus Team Finland 1
Jonathan Drouin – 1-0-1, +1, 3 SOG, 15:26 TOI
Valtteri Filppula – 1-0-1, -1, 3 SOG, 2 Hits, 1 Block, 38% faceoffs, 17:07 TOI
Team North America absolutely dominated Team Finland in this game from beginning to end. The scoring opened up 40 seconds into a first period power play with Jack Eichel scoring on Pekka Rinne. Team North America further opened up their lead with three goals in the second period, including a goal from Jonathan Drouin where he chased his own rebound and put the puck in past a scrambling Rinne.
After two periods, North America led shots 31 to 18 and was up 4-0 on the scoreboard.
The third period saw Team Finland playing with more energy and playing a more physical game to try to get Team North America off their game. If they had played like that for a full 60 minutes, they may have been more in the game. Valtteri Filppula would break Matt Murray’s shut out with a bar down shot right in front of the goal after a pass from behind the net.
Drouin ended up not getting any power play time as Finland only gave North America one power play opportunity. He ended up 2nd in TOI for North America’s forwards as the coaching staff continued to roll all four lines pretty evenly with Brandon Saad having the least amount of time with 11:30. Every one else was over 13 minutes.
Filppula ended up with the fourth most TOI for Finland’s forwards including 2:10 on the power play and 0:27 on the penalty kill. Filppula was on ice for North America’s third and fourth goal, but got back to minus-one with his goal in the third period.
Team Sweden and Team North America have both put themselves in a position to control their destiny in Group B. They will face each other on Wednesday and it very well could be that that game could determine who is first and second in the group if both can pull off wins against Finland and Russia respectively.
Team Europe will take on Team Czech Republic Monday afternoon and Team Russia and Team North America will take each other on in the evening. Team Sweden doesn’t play again until Tuesday when they take on Team Finland.