Sweden 8, Switzerland 3
Sweden 8, Switzerland
New York (The Draft Analyst) — Dmytro Timashov led a balanced attacked with two goals and an assist as Team Sweden took advantage of an undisciplined opponent to thrash Team Switzerland 8-3, in their opening game of the 2016 World Junior Championship from Helsinki, Finland.
Top draft prospect Alexander Nylander chipped in with three assists for Sweden, which outshot Switzerland, 39-18, and capitalized on 60 minutes worth of Swiss penalties, including a pair of five-minute power plays.
William Nylander, the eighth overall pick by Toronto in 2014, opened the scoring with a breakaway goal at 1:21, and Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Oskar Lindblom made it 2-0 with under 10 minutes left in the first. The elder Nylander, who centered Sweden’s top line alongside younger brother Alexander, was knocked out of the game with under five minutes to go in the opening frame after he took an hit to the head from Switzerland’s Chris Egli. Nylander was taken to a local hospital and did not return, and Egli was ejected.
Swiss left wing Tino Kessler scored during a four-on-four to cut the deficit to 2-1, but Timoshov’s power play marker with just 29 seconds remaining began a string of three unanswered for Sweden, which scored five goals over the final two periods to complete the rout.
Draft prospect Rasmus Asplund, defensemen Jacob Larsson (Anaheim Ducks) and Adam Ollas Mattsson (Calgary Flames), and center Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (Boston Bruins) also scored for Sweden, which received a 15-save effort from goalie Linus Soderstrom (New York Islanders). Centers Joel Eriksson Ek (Minnesota Wild) and Adrian Kempe (Los Angeles Kings) also suffered injuries, with Eriksson Ek taking a head shot and Kempe from being crunched into the boards by Calvin Thurkauf. Noah Rod scored the other goal for Switzerland.
C RASMUS ASPLUND (2016 Draft/1997): Hard-working pivot who had a chance to play some big minutes after he stepped in on Sweden’s top line following William Nylander’s possible head injury. He was all over the puck, and quickly developed chemistry with linemate and fellow 2016 draftee Alexander Nylander. Asplund scored a goal after ripping a wrist shot from above the circles through a screen. He also drove to the net like a bull, which led to Adam Ollas Mattasson’s bank-in off Tino Kessler. Asplund finished with a goal on three shots.
RW DMYTRO TIMASHOV (Toronto 5th/2015): Loved seeing him not only shoot the puck, but really handle some hard cross-ice passes to get into shooting position in a hurry. He’s bulked up since last year and actually looks more dangerous now than earlier in the month, when he was carrying a rebuilding Remparts squad. He won a fixture on Sweden’s top line, and didn’t skip a beat after his center, William Nylander, was knocked out of the game in the first period. Remember, it was Tymashov who likely made undisciplined scorer Robin Kovacs expendable when the Swedish roster was constructed. Thus far, it looks like it’s working out.
LW ALEXANDER NYLANDER (2016 Draft/1998): Outstanding performance by the youngest player on Sweden’s roster who played huge minutes on Sweden’s top line and top power play unit. Nylander, who likely becomes a lottery pick in June off his dominant OHL season alone, had three assists and was constantly operating with his head up. He missed some nice set ups from Tymashov, but rebounded nonetheless to continue to possess the puck and make smart plays. Switzerland tried to be physical with him, but in the end it did nothing to slow him down.
LHD JACOB LARSSON (Anaheim 1st/2015): We were particularly interested to see how Larsson was going to handle the added workload with injuries to puck movers Sebastian Aho and Gustav Forsling, especially on the power play. What we saw was an extremely confident young man who was producing controlled entry after controlled entry. Both his breakout passes and zone exits on the move just made sense when he chose to do either one, and we have no problem comnsidering him Sweden’s primary threat from the blue line in the absence of the aforementioned injured duo. Larsson was credited with a goal in the third period, but it looked like defensive partner William Lagesson tipped home his point shot.
LW TINO KESSLER(2016 Draft Eligible/1996): Kessler is a two-way forward who was one of the few Swiss forwards to know how to position himslef on the ice. He was on Switzerland’s top line, centered by former CHL’er Pius Suter and with San Jose first rounder Timo Meier on the right. He scored a pair of goals for his team, and tipped one into his own net as well. Kessler was named Player of the Game, finishing with two goals, including one off a shorthanded breakaway.
RW TIMO MEIER (San Jose 1st/2015): He was mean, as expected. But Switzerland’s top power forward and team captain also managed a team-best five shots despite spending a lot of time on the bench due to what seemed like a looping Swedish power play opportunity. He and his linemates seemed to have good chemistry, but the poor collective judgement on the part of his team pretty much made Meier less of a worry to deal with. On the bright side, he was almost 30% of Switzerland’s shot output for the entire contest.
LW DENIS MALGIN (Florida 4th/2015): The Malgin we saw today in Helsinki was pretty much the same kid we saw at the last year’s WJC — an elusive puck hound with exceptional one-on-one skills. He drew an assist on Kessler’s first goal after wiring a tough shot through a screen that Soderstrom couldnt handle, and also assisted Switzerland’s second goal off a tip in by Noah Rod. He later got into a bit of a shoving match with Lagesson, throwing some rabbit punches into the latter’s grill and earning a minor.
LHD JONAS SIEGENTHALER (Washington 2nd/2015): If there is one game where a plus/minus rating is indicative of how well a skater played, then we present you with this physical defender’s even rating in an 8-3 blowout. Siegenthaler did his part and was consistently calm under pressure. We like to see the mean, tough types actually avoid contact when the end result is escaping with the puck settled on their stick, which is exatcly what Siegenthaler did the best he could. He was abrasive against the Swedes, who looked like they were laughing off the on-ice impropriety being displayed by the Swiss — Siegenthaler included. It looks like it’s going to be a long tournament for him, however, as he appeared to be a young man on an island in just the first game of the competition.