The two heavyweights of Group B take to the ice as the World Cup of Hockey resumes with Team Sweden who look to affirm their favorite status and Team Russia who just wants everyone to know they’re still really good.
It’s defense meets offense in the first game in group B of the World Cup of Hockey with Team Sweden vs. Team Russia.
With the setup of the tournament, with only three round-robin games, each result could have tournament-altering consequences. Just ask Team USA how they feel about their prospects of making it to the semi-finals?
There just isn’t room for error, during such a short tournament each team is going to have to maximize their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
For Team Sweden, their strength is on the defense with players like Erik Karlsson, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and Victor Hedman. These players can break-up plays and get the puck moving up the ice the other way quickly. And, some would say, more importantly, they score a ton of goals.
More from International Tournaments
- Islanders prospect healthy scratch for Team Finland
- Islanders: Team Sweden positive COVID tests extends quarantine WJC
- Islanders prospects experience at World Junior Championships
- Islanders: World Junior Championship rosters, schedule, tv, stream
- Islanders Simon Holmstrom makes Team Sweden WJC roster
The weakness for Sweden oddly enough is goaltending. It seems that King Henrik Lundqvist just isn’t himself lately. Letting in five on 22 shots for a very un-Henrik like .773 save percentage. He also let in three on 14 shots against the Fins a few days before.
Meaning Henrik’s save percentage for pre-tournament is .779. It’s bad news for the Swedes that Henrik is playing this poorly. But, from a New York Islanders perspective, there couldn’t be better news to start the 2016-17 season.
For the Russian’s it all about offense. They need to find a way to get those big guns of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin, and Vladimir Tarasenko firing.
During pre-tournament play the aforementioned three combined for three points out of 21. A mere 14% of Russia’s points came through those three. It’s disappointing for sure.
But at least the Russian’s have Calder trophy winning Artemi Panarin on the roster. In pre-tournament play, he’s been phenomenal with four points to himself.
The weakness for Russia, right now is there rally that offense. Their defense isn’t, at least on paper, strong enough to keep the team in contention. The goaltending can steal a game, we’ve all seen what Varlamov can do.
If the Russians can get that big three to fire on all cylinders they just might edge the Swedes. Lundqvist just isn’t the same it seems, and the Russian’s have the tools to exploit it.