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World Cup

Notebook: Team Sweden unveils potent power play

Erik Karlsson expected to be on first, second groups; Hamphus Lindholm, Mattias Ekholm in battle for sixth D-man

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

GOTHENBURG, Sweden -- Team Sweden debuted its power-play units during its second practice of training camp at Scandinavium on Tuesday in advance of the World Cup of Hockey 2016. 

The top unit featured the Vancouver Canucks connection of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Loui Eriksson, along with Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.

Ekman-Larsson was on the left point and Karlsson on the right point with Henrik Sedin working down low and switching with Daniel Sedin, who started at the right wing half-wall. Eriksson was in front of the net.

Those players combined for 109 power-play points last season. 

Sweden's second unit had Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog, Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Patric Hornqvist, Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg and Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman.  

Stralman (right) and Forsberg (left) were at the points. Backstrom was working the half-wall with Landeskog below the goal line and Hornqvist in front of the net. Karlsson worked in for Stralman on the second unit because he figures to play more power-play minutes than anyone. 

Backstrom, Landeskog, Hornqvist, Forsberg and Stralman combined for 94 power-play points last season. 

Video: SJS@NSH, Gm3: Forsberg's perfect shot beats Jones

"As a coach you have to be flexible so things are going to happen in the journey here and we have to be flexible," coach Rikard Gronborg said. "But at the same time we have a pretty set mind when it comes to the different skills that each players have so I think it's pretty important for us to right now feel the chemistry. Erik is going to get quite a bit of power-play time. He can probably eat up a minute and a half if not more. It's more for us to surround him with obviously very good players, and I think we have that." 

ONE POSITION BATTLE: It appears the only position battle for Sweden is between Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm and Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm for the sixth spot. They've been working in a rotation on the left side of Karlsson. 

The other pairs have featured Stralman with regular Lightning partner Victor Hedman, and Ekman-Larsson with Niklas Hjalmarsson of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Gronborg said his main concerns with the defense are chemistry and ice time. He's trying to work on chemistry now and see who fits best. He'll get his first chance to attack the ice time issue when Sweden plays Team Finland in a pretournament game at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki on Thursday (Noon ET; ESPN3, Sportsnet, TVA Sports). 

"Erik and Hedman know they're not going to get 30 minutes a game; that's not going to happen," Gronborg said. "Those guys are used to logging heavy, heavy minutes and they're not going to get that here." 

FORWARD LINES: Sweden's forward lines in practice Tuesday were the same as Monday: 

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Loui Eriksson  
Filip Forsberg - Nicklas Backstrom - Patric Hornqvist 
Carl Hagelin - Marcus Kruger - Jakob Silfverberg  
Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Rickard Rakell  

Mikael Backlund was working as the 13th forward. 

HE SAID IT: Karlsson on how he feels about Team Sweden at this point in training camp: 

"The first two practices have been good. I think the tempo is there. We're just trying to get a feel for how we want to play and how everybody else plays. That's been looking good. I think it feels and looks better than I expected it to be." 

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