Another exciting day of World Cup hockey as Team Sweden takes on Team North America with a chance to clinch the top spot in the group with a win or overtime loss. Team Europe and Team Canada face off to determine who will be the winner of the group as both have already clinched semi-finals spots.
Team North America 4 versus Team Sweden 3 (OT)
Jonathan Drouin – 0-0-0, +1, 1 SOG, 1 Hit, 9:31 TOI
Anton Stralman – 0-0-0, -1, 2 Hits, 1 Block, 21:46 TOI
Victor Hedman – 0-0-0, -1, 2 Hits, 23:28 TOI
When you first look at the stats of this game, it seems like Team North America dominated with their 49 to 38 shot advantage. However, when you dig a little deeper, Sweden had trouble getting the puck on goal as Team North America had 28 shot blocks. Counting up all shot attempts, Team Sweden actually had a 6 SAT advantage.
Jonathan Drouin did better in this game getting a shot on goal plus another that missed. He seemed to be skating with a bit more conviction and fighting a bit harder for pucks. However, he still had limited ice time and was second to last in ice time for North America. I should point out though that four forwards ended up under 11 minutes as the coaching staff leaned on their top players. Scheifele and McDavid were both over 20 minutes. Gaudreau, Mackinnon and Matthews were over 19 minutes.
A game after being at the bottom of Team Sweden’s defensive TOI, Hedman and Stralman were back in the 2nd and 3rd spots behind Erik Karlsson. Hedman was also well above every one else with 4:54 TOI short handed with no other defenseman breaking 4 minutes short handed. Hedman also saw 1:44 on the power play as Team Sweden was trying some different options to get their power play going, but they failed to convert on any of their five power plays.
The game went to overtime and had some very… interesting play to finish the game with a couple of back and forth chances. Eventually, Nathan MacKinnon found himself all alone in front of Henrik Lundqvist, avoided Lundqvist’s stick check and put it past his blocker.
Team Sweden with the one point for the overtime loss secure’s their position as the winner of Group B. Team North America now becomes Team Finland’s biggest fans. With a win of any kind, Russia will tie Team North America for 2nd in the group and owing to beating North America, Russia would hold the head-to-head tie breaker and take the 2nd spot in the Semi-Finals. With any loss, Team North America will move on to the Semi-Finals.
Team Europe 1 versus Team Canada 4
Steven Stamkos – 0-0-0, E, 5 SOG, 1 Hit, 14:49 TOI
Team Canada came out blazing and dominated this game from beginning to end. It took a bad angle goal sneaking through Corey Crawford’s pads to break up the shutout. With the win, Team Canada wins Group A and will get ready to face either Team North America or Team Russia. Team Europe will face Team Sweden in the semi-finals.
Stamkos was absolutely on fire tonight. Besides his five shots on goal, he also had 4 shots blocked and 2 shots missed the mark. Halak absolutely robbed him on more than one glorious opportunity including one all alone in front of the net. His 11 SATs led Team Canada with the next closest being three players at 8. He also had 3:18 on the power play and had a couple good chances from his office that couldn’t squeak through.
I’d be concerned that he isn’t finding the back of the net, but he’s getting his shots. You have to feel that eventually they’re going to start going in. Maybe with it still being early, he’s still trying to find his shot a little bit and just needs to fine tune his aim a little bit. His 14:49 TOI was 8th among Canada’s forwards.
Tomorrow, Team Czech Republic and Team USA will play in a game that has no relevance whatsoever as both have already been eliminated. Team Russia will take on Team Finland in the afternoon. If Team Russia wins in any fashion, they will advance to the Semi-Finals. If they lose in any fashion, Team North America will advance. Whichever team it ends up being, they will face off against Team Canada on Saturday. Team Sweden will face Team Europe on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Fest is coming up on Sunday. Andrej Sustr, Ondrej Palat, Ben Bishop, and Valtteri Filppula should be back in Tampa in time for fan fest. Drouin, Kucherov, Namestnikov, Nesterov, and Vasilevskiy could also be back in town as well depending on tomorrow’s result and if Kucherov’s contract gets finished in the next few days.