The preliminary round of the 2016 IIHF World Championships is in the books, and now, it’s off to the playoffs. Both Team Canada and Team Sweden made it through, but not at the tops of their groups – and indeed, put in a position to play one another in the quarterfinals.
Team Canada went nearly perfect through the round robin, falling to just Team Finland. As a result, they finished second in Group B, and get the honour of matching up against the third place team from Group A: Team Sweden.
Mikael Backlund, one of Sweden’s on-ice leaders, is the only Flames player in this tournament. On the other side of things, Brad Treliving is a co-GM for Canada. No matter what, somebody who represents the Flames will have a really good shot at a medal: but first, they have to go through each other. The puck drops at 11:15 a.m. MT.
Team vs. Team
|Team||Record||Goals For||Goals Against||Shots on Goal||PP%||PK%||PIM||SV%|
One of Sweden’s wins came in overtime and another int he shootout, while all six of Canada’s victories came in regulation. Canada clearly has the scoring edge – but Sweden’s efforts shouldn’t be understated, as they weren’t hurting for generating shots, and actually outpaced every other team in the tournament.
Both teams appear to have strong powerplays, but Canada’s penalty kill is noticeably better; further to that, they took the second least amount of penalties throughout the preliminaries. They also have the edge in goaltending, and the goal differential very much points in Canada’s favour.
|Team||Goals||Assists||Points||Shots on Goal||PIM||Average TOI||SV%|
|Canada||Taylor Hall (6)||Connor McDavid (7)||Derick Brassard (9)||Taylor Hall
Corey Perry (20)
Connor McDavid (6)
|D: Ryan Ellis (19:40)
F: Matt Duchene (17:16)
|Calvin Pickard (97.14%)|
|Sweden||Gustav Nyquist (7)||Alexander Wennberg (7)||Gustav Nyquist
Alexander Wennberg (8)
|Mikael Backlund (28)||Jimmie Ericsson (10)||D: Adam Larsson (23:10)
F: Mikael Backlund (21:10)
|Jacob Markstrom (91.22%)|
The Nyquist-Wennberg duo is clearly the deadliest option for Sweden, while Canada’s offence is a bit more spread out. If ice times are anything to go by, Canada appears to have greater depth as well: Sweden is much more reliant on a couple of key players, Backlund chief among them. All but one of Team Canada’s players play in the NHL, while just eight members of Sweden’s roster play there.
All in all, Canada – the second seed – should have the advantage over Sweden. They lead in almost every statistical category, are significantly better at preventing goals, and have the deeper roster. It’ll be interesting to see how Sweden stands up to them – and, from a Flames perspective, just how much they rely on Backlund in their most important game of the tournament.