Mikael Backlund goes to Worlds: Sweden vs. Switzerland

After a cleanly played first period, things quickly descended into chaos between the Swedes and the Swiss for the second. While the many scrums mostly stopped in that frame, the penalties kept going through into the third.

All in all, Sweden took eight, while the Swiss countered with nine. The constant special teams disrupted the flow of the game, which the Swedes ultimately took 3-2 in the shootout.

While the second period was filled with scrums between both teams, Backlund wasn’t on the ice for many of them – and when he was, he wasn’t particularly physically involved. He did, however, have a shift in which he sent two different Swiss players down to the ice on opposite sides (and even took himself out in the second hit), so it’s not as though there was no physical presence on his part.

With no points in this game, Backlund remains at just three goals scored and one assist picked up through three games. He’s gone pointless in three games, including the two most recent.

He did, however, have four shots – and that’s not counting the ones that never made it on the net, and went just wide or right within the vicinity, or were just blocked. Backlund was a consistent net-front presence in hopes of collecting rebounds (where most of his goals this tournament have come from), and his lack of points shouldn’t reflect his efforts on the offensive side of the game. He’s still a leader for the Swedes offensively, even if the puck isn’t going in.

Aside from Gustav Nyquist, who leads the entire tournament with seven goals, a lot of Swedish players seem to be having problems scoring. (Backlund’s three are actually second on the team, tied with Robert Rosen.)

Interestingly enough, neither Backlund nor Nyquist were on the ice for Sweden’s one-minute five-on-three towards the end of regulation – nor were either present in the four-round shootout, as Andre Burakovsky had to score both shootout goals to win the game.

Backlund played 26:03 in total, which was the second most on Team Sweden by a fair margin: only Adam Larsson played more with 29:39. The next closest forward in ice time was linemate Jimmie Ericsson, who played five minutes fewer with 21:03; Nyquist only topped out at 18:38.