Mikael Backlund goes to Worlds: Sweden vs. Czech Republic

Team Sweden and Team Czech Republic were two of the top Group A teams headed into this match. After scoring two goals in the first period, it looked to be Sweden’s game – but then the Czechs came back and kept going, and took the clear 4-2 victory, dropping the Swedes to one win, one overtime win, and one regulation loss so far at the 2016 IIHF World Championships.

Mikael Backlund didn’t have any points on the day. In fact, he wasn’t even on the ice for any of the six goals scored, even though he played 21:23 – third on Team Sweden, behind Linus Omark and Adam Larsson. His four shots on net – two in the first period, and two in the third – were tied with Martin Lundberg for the team lead, but to no avail.

Backlund once again played in all situations, and had a bit more physicality to his game as the Czechs outshot the Swedes 33-28. 

While he wasn’t in on the offence, he was still creating. Before Sweden scored their second goal of the game, a rather nice shorthanded deke by Lundberg, Backlund singelhandedly created a chance for Jimmie Ericsson, resulting from a rebound from Jacob Markstrom:

Through three games, Backlund now has two goals, one assist, and 19 shots on net. He leads (or is tied for the team lead) in most categories:

  • Goals: 2 (tied with Gustav Nyquist)
  • Points: 3 (tied with Jimmie Ericsson, Linus Omark)
  • Shots on net: 19 (Linus Klassen is second with 10)
  • TOI average: 21:21 (Adam Larson is second with 20:31)

The Swedes are now placed third in Group A, behind the Czechs and Russians. Their lack of production may be a note of concern; of the nine goals they have scored so far this tournament, five have come on the powerplay (including Backlund’s two markers) and one has been shorthanded, leaving the Swedes with just three even strength goals to date.