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Three Blue Jackets prospects in Monday's USA-Sweden game at WJC

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

Monday's game between the United States and Sweden (9 a.m. ET, live on NHL Network) will have added significance for Blue Jackets fans.

On one side, you have the Americans, led by captain Zach Werenski, looking to get their second straight win to open the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship. There's also Sonny Milano, who played well in Team USA's opening victory over Canada on Saturday, and he seems to be in good form as this tournament begins.

Then there's Sweden, dealt a blow in their opening game by losing star forward William Nylander to a possible concussion. He will not play Monday, but Sweden is optimistic that he could return at some point during the tournament.

Sweden's blueline has some offensive players, but one of their steady presences on Saturday was Blue Jackets first rounder Gabriel Carlsson. Taken 29th overall in 2015, the 6-foot-4 Carlsson added two assists in addition to playing a strong two-way game -- and that's great news for a young kid on a big stage.

Werenski was quite impressive on Saturday, logging a ton of ice time in all situations for coach Ron Wilson's American side. He scored an important power play goal in the third period (a nifty seeing-eye wrist shot through traffic) that temporarily gave Team USA a 2-1 lead, and made heady, subtle plays in all three zones.

Milano was entertaining, as well, playing with speed and an attacking mentality which proved infectious for his line.

Now, already with a crucial win over Canada in its back pocket, the U.S. can take command of its group with a win over Sweden -- but the Swedes have plenty of confidence themselves after a rout of Switzerland in its World Junior opener.

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