There are just four games left at the 2018 IIHF World Championships: two semifinals, the bronze medal game, and the gold medal game. Three Flames remain in contention: Bill Peters as head coach of Team Canada, Mikael Backlund as captain of Team Sweden, and Johnny Gaudreau as one of Team USA’s top scorers.
Unfortunately, as was the case a week ago, real life has gotten in the way for many of us, so we’re reduced to a statistical look at the Flames at Worlds. Once again, though, if you’ve been able to watch, we’d really love to read your observations in the comments!
Team Canada: Bill Peters
The Canadians will face off against the Swiss in pursuit of their fourth straight medal at Worlds: they won gold in 2015 and 2016, and silver in 2017. Peters was an assistant coach on the 2015 team, and head coach on the 2016 edition. (He was not a member of the coaching staff in 2017.) The Swiss upset the Finns 3-2 to make it to the semi, while Canada defeated Russia 5-4 in overtime to earn their chance at a fourth straight medal. The Canadians had a 2-0 lead over Russia in the quarterfinal game, only to lose it; they would later make it 3-2 and 4-3, never trailing.
Team Canada only has two players in the top 30 in scoring: Connor McDavid with 16 points and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with eight. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is the only skater without any points. Curtis McElhinney has a 93.10 save percentage for Canada, while Darcy Kuemper has played the lion’s share of the netminding minutes, and has a 87.50 save percentage. He played in the quarterfinal contest.
Canada has outscored their opponents 32-16 throughout the tournament, and has only lost twice: a 5-4 shootout loss to the Americans in the first round robin game, and a 5-1 loss to Team Finland later in the round robin.
Team Sweden: Mikael Backlund
Team Sweden will face Team USA for the right to play for gold.
Through eight games, Backlund has two goals and four assists for six points, tied for fifth on the team. His 22 shots on net are the fourth most amongst all the Swedes. He has averaged 41 seconds a shift, and with 140:50 total played, is third amongst all Swedish forwards in ice time.
Backlund’s first goal was a powerplay marker against France in a 4-0 win. He followed that up with a primary even strength assist in a 4-3 overtime win over Slovakia. He then apparently went hard against the Swiss, scoring one even strength goal and registering a secondary powerplay assist and two primary assists (one at even strength, one on an empty netter) in a 5-3 win. His points so far have all come during round robin play.
Team USA: Johnny Gaudreau
Gaudreau has one goal and eight assists for nine points in eight games, third in Team USA scoring, and tied for 10th in points tournament-wide. His 16 shots on goal are tied for seventh on the team. He’s been averaging 46 seconds a shift, and with a total 130:35 played, is third amongst all American forwards in ice time.
Gaudreau has registered at least a point in every game he’s played except for one: a 6-2 loss to the Finns, the Americans’ only loss of the tournament.
He kicked things off with an even strength goal against the Canadians in a 5-4 shootout win (his shootout attempt was saved), and followed it up with a primary even strength assist in a 4-0 win over Denmark. Gaudreau had one primary powerplay assist in a 3-0 win over Germany, and another primary powerplay assist – in overtime – in a 3-2 overtime victory over Latvia. In a 13-1 blowout over South Korea, Gaudreau registered three assists: one secondary even strength, one primary powerplay, and one secondary powerplay. He registered a secondary even strength assist in a 9-3 win over Norway.
In the States’ 3-2 quarterfinal win over the Czech Republic, Gaudreau registered one secondary even strength assist.
Team Czech Republic: David Rittich
The Americans eliminated the Czechs from playoff contention in the quarterfinals; Rittich was the backup for that game.
Rittich played 182:08 for the Czechs, while teammate Pavel Francouz took the reins for 302:56. Rittich allowed six goals total on 60 shots for a 90.00 save percentage. He was in net for a 3-2 loss to the Swedes, a 4-3 win over the Russians, and 6-0 shutout of France during which he stopped all 10 shots he faced.