Trouba scores first of the tournament in USA win; Ehlers notches two assists in loss to Sweden
Ryan Dittrick & Mitchell Clinton
The Winnipeg Jets have seven players participating in the 2017 IIHF World Hockey Championship, held in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany. Check back throughout the tournament for daily updates, highlights and more as Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey and Eric Comrie of Canada, Nikolaj Ehlers of Denmark, and Jacob Trouba, Andrew Copp and Connor Hellebuyck of the U.S. go for gold.
USA 6 vs. SLOVAKIA 1
The red-hot red, white and blue stayed aflame Sunday with their most dominant showing yet.
Johnny Gaudreau (2), Clayton Keller, Christian Dvorak, Anders Lee and Jets defenceman Jacob Trouba supplied the offence, while Jimmy Howard made 19 saves in a 6-1 drubbing of the Slovaks.
Trouba had a team-high five shots on goal in just over 20 minutes of ice time. He now has three points (1G, 2A) so far in the tournament.
After scoring the game-winning goal on Saturday, fellow Jet Andrew Copp was held off the score sheet in 12:17 of ice time.
The victory gives the U.S. a 5-0-0-1 record for 15 points. They will play Russia in their final game of the round robin on Tuesday, with the winner earning first place in Group A.
The U.S. took a 1-0 lead at 8:13 as Keller scored on a broken play in front. Anders Lee made a great move behind the net, cutting back and bowling his way to the blue paint as he tried to stuff it short side. The puck then richocheted out front where Keller met up with it, slamming it upstairs for the game's opening tally.
A three-goal second period then blew this one wide open.
The onslaught began with a 2-on-1 early in the frame, as Gaudreau cashed on a give-and-go with Kevin Hayes, leaving goaltender Julius Hudacek sprawled helplessly in his crease.
Hayes, along with fellow Ranger Brady Skjei, were playing their first games of the tournament after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Slovakia got on the board at 10:39 as former Edmonton Oilers prospect Martin Gernat beat Howard from well out, but Dvorak got it back for the U.S. only five minutes later.
The Americans then opened up a three-goal lead 18:01 as Trouba found the back of the net for the first time after playing so well defensively through the first five games. Trouba made a smart pinch at the offensive blue line, forcing a turnover and giving himself a lane at the net.
The D-man made no mistake.
Gaudreau gave the Americans a 5-1 lead at 2:16 of the third off another great pass from Hayes on an odd-man break in tight. Gaudreau is now tied with French forward Stephane da Costa for the tournament lead in goals with six.
Hayes, who played alongside Gaudreau at Boston College many years ago (the pair finished 1-2 in scoring in their final year together), was named the U.S. Player of the Game with the two assists, three shots and 16:36 of ice time.
Lee rounded out the scoring with a power-play goal with less than 13 minutes left in the third.
A power play goal from Sweden's Nicklas Backstrom with less than three minutes left in regulation stopped a third period comeback attempt from Denmark, giving Sweden a 4-2 win Sunday at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Nikolaj Ehlers had two assists, two shots, and was a +2 in the loss.
Henrik Lundqvist made 19 saves in his first appearance in the tournament following the New York Rangers' elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs. George Sorensen stopped 29 shots in the loss.
It was Henrik's twin brother Joel that got Sweden on the board just over two minutes into the game. Sorensen made the initial save off Joel Eriksson Ek, but the Swedish forward forced a turnover behind the Danish net shortly after, and Marcus Kruger sent the loose puck to Lundqvist by the face-off dot, where the 35-year-old forward made no mistake, going top corner on Sorensen.
William Nylander's first of two goals in the game came off a beautiful pass from John Klingberg at the point. He threaded the puck through two Danish forwards up high in the zone, and the two defencemen to Nylander, who outwaited Sorensen and slid the puck past the outstretched pad of Denmark's netminder.
Sweden made it 3-0 on Nylander's second of the game. Nylander circled the offensive zone and dished the puck off to Nicklas Backstrom, who sent a one-touch pass back to Nylander, who shook his defender to find space in front of the net to extend the lead.
Ehlers made Sweden pay for a D-to-D pass gone wrong to help get Denmark on the board. When Oliver Ekman-Larsson bobbled the pass from Jonas Brodin, Ehlers was right there to snag the loose puck, drive wide, then fit a backhand pass between two outstretched sticks in front to Madsen. Henrik Lundqvist got a piece of the Madsen shot, but the puck found a way through.
Six minutes later, Ehlers was at it again. Like Nylander earlier in the game, Ehlers circled around the offensive zone with the puck, drawing Swedish defenders toward him. After completing a full circle of the zone, Ehlers sent a no-look backhand feed into the slot, and Markus Lauridsen got enough on the shot to beat Lundqvist, cutting the Sweden lead to one.
Backstrom put an end to the comeback on a late power play, one-timing a feed from Klingberg from the face-off dot to make it 4-2 Sweden with 2:29 remaining in regulation.
Denmark (0-2-0-4) is right back in action tomorrow against Italy.