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Gaudreau dazzles in Team North America OT win

by Torie Peterson @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

Johnny be good.

Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau  dazzled in Team North America's 4-3 overtime win over Sweden on Wednesday, scoring once in regulation and setting up Nathan MacKinnon's game-winning goal. He was also named the game's second star for his efforts.

Team North America is now 2-1-0 at the World Cup of Hockey and await the Russia vs. Finland game Thursday to determine if they will advance to the semi-finals. If Russia loses to Finland, Team North America will move on to the next round. 

Wednesday's matinee match-up got off to a quick start with Auston Matthews opening the scoring just 30 seconds seconds into the game. Despite being knocked to his knees at the side of the net, the 2016 first overall pick at the NHL Draft managed to hang onto the puck, deftly keeping it away from Victor Hedman. He got the puck to Morgan Rielly, who hammered a shot on net, and Matthews was in perfect position to tap the rebound past Henrik Lundqvist.

Just 26 seconds later, Gaudreau was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked up by Erik Karlsson. He aimed to put it over Lundqvist's glove but the shot went wide.

Vincent Trocheck, who replaced Sean Monahan  on the roster after the Flames pivot withdrew from the tournament after straining his back, made it a 2-0 game at 1:35 of the first period. He backhanded a rebound over sprawling Lundqvist in the slot, giving him his first goal at the World Cup.

Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg settled things down for Sweden near the mid-way point of the opening stanza, wristing a shot past John Gibson from the top of the right face-off circle to make it a 2-1 game.

Gaudreau quickly responded for Team North America, scoring on a breakaway. The shifty winger deked around Lundqvist and slipped the puck around his left pad to give Team North America a 3-1 lead at the 13:57 mark of the first period.

Nicklas Backstrom's tally at 16:28 would close out the first period scoring spree. He one-timed a rebound from just above the hashmarks to make it a 3-2 game.

After a scoreless second period, Patrik Berglund's first goal of the tournament would send the game to overtime. He got a stick on Karlsson's point shot, redirecting it past Gibson.

MacKinnon ended things at the 4:11 mark of a wild overtime period that saw the teams trade chances. With Sweden pushing to get the puck out of their zone, Gaudreau managed to chase it down along the boards -- with Daniel Sedin bearing down on him and Karlsson closing in -- and sent a pass to MacKinnon. The Colorado Avalanche forward was all alone in front of the Swedish net, toe-dragged Lundqvist and backhanded under the crossbar to win the game.

Gaudreau finished the afternoon with one goal, one assist and six shots on net in 18:29 of ice time.

Mikael Backlund , who played in Sweden's first two games at the World Cup, missed Wednesday's game. The Flames centre took a hard hit from Sami Lespito in Tuesday's 2-0 win over Finland. In Backlund's absence, Berglund was inserted into the Swedish lineup.

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