BostonBruins.com - Loui Eriksson and Torey Krug helped their respective teams to wins at the 2015 International Ice Hockey Federation Men's World Championship on Monday in the Czech Republic.
Eriksson scored a hat trick in Sweden's 8-1 win over Latvia, while Krug notched a goal in Team USA's 4-2 win over Russia. Eriksson and Krug each received "Best Player of the Game" honors from their teams in the victories.
Sweden and the U.S. are off to 3-0 starts in tournament play. They are in separate groups for the preliminary round of the tournament, with the U.S. competing in the city of Ostrava and Sweden playing in Prague.
The top-four ranked teams in each group of eight teams will go on to the quarterfinals, so that would mark the first possible time that Eriksson and Krug could face off against each other.
Eriksson now has three goals and two assists for five points through three games with a plus-4 rating. Krug has a goal and three assists for four points through three games with a plus-6 rating, and is second among defensemen in scoring.
Both players have been relied on in all situations, including time on the power play and penalty kill.
Krug's goal in the win over Russia marked Team USA's first power play goal of the tournament. It came during a 5-on-3 opportunity when Krug whipped in a shot top shelf from the right circle. On the penalty kill, Krug and the U.S. have been perfect through three games, going 11-for-11.
The defenseman logged 23:35 in the win, behind only Seth Jones and his tournament defense partner, Justin Faulk.
Through the three games, he leads the U.S. in assists (3), shots on goal (10), and has played the most shifts of any U.S. player (102). He is tied with forward Brock Nelson in points (4) and tied with Faulk in plus/minus.
Krug has helped contribute to Team USA's best start in the tournament since 1997. The U.S. has medaled just once in the past 10 years (bronze in 2013) and their lone gold medal came in 1960.
As a veteran on the international stage, Eriksson earned gold at the World Championship with Sweden in 2013, silver in 2011 and bronze in 2009.
He is usually relied on to play the most minutes of all forwards on Sweden, and that was the case again in his team's 8-1 win over Latvia, logging 20:52 in ice time. Only defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson recorded more ice time.
Though Eriksson tallied the hat trick, he could have had a four-goal game. One of his goals was called back after a crease violation, but he went on to put Sweden up 4-1 en route to their eventual 8-1 victory. He scored his first goal by banking the puck off a defender's skate in front, the second by roofing a backhander off a rebound in front and the third off a drive-by deflection from a point shot.
The winger has been playing on Sweden's top line with Anton Lander and Filip Forsberg.
Eriksson and Sweden will next face Canada on Wednesday, May 6 at 2:15 p.m. ET, while Krug and the U.S. will get two days off without game action before playing Belarus on Thursday, May 7 at 10:15 a.m. ET.
Team USA's game can be viewed live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra.