Team Sweden and Team Europe have each played their first games at the World Cup of Hockey and a few Vancouver Canucks have performed well.
The World Cup of Hockey officially kicked off on Saturday and the players representing the Vancouver Canucks look to be in regular season form.
Team Europe came in to the tournament as massive underdogs with most pundits expecting them to finish in last place in the tournament. However, Europe came out and shocked the Americans with a 3-0 shutout victory. Canucks forward Jannik Hansen factored into the final goal for Europe after his shot from the left point was deflected by Philadelphia Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare past USA goaltender Jonathan Quick to solidify the victory.
Team Europe’s next game is on Monday against Team Czech Republic who will be looking to bounce back from being shut out by the Canadians 6-0.
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The other team in the tournament with Canucks on the roster is Team Sweden, and their Canucks looked impressive against Team Russia.
Goaltender Jacob Markstrom was the surprise starter for Sweden after New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist fell ill. Markstrom told TSN’s Mark Masters that he only found out he was starting when he arrived at the rink.
Markstrom was solid in the game, making 27 saves, and looked like he might shut out the Russians, until Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin scored with just 33 seconds left on the clock. Although he didn’t get the shutout, Markstrom’s performance did get him the first star of the game and made a strong case to be the starting goalie on Tuesday against Finland, even if Lundqvist is back at full health.
Up front, the Sedin-Sedin-Eriksson line looked just as good as they did in the pre-tournament games even though they only had one point between them, an assist from Henrik Sedin on Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman’s game winnner.
The highlight of the game from that line came when Sweden went for a line change, leaving the Sedins to play keep away with five Russian defenders while Sweden completed the change.
Loui Eriksson looked great as well, especially on the power play where he was consistently fighting his way to the front of the net instead of acting as a perimeter player, which is something the Sedins haven’t had from a consistent linemate since the Alex Burrows days.
All things considered, the Canucks have plenty to look forward to in this tournament. They have to be incredibly excited about what they saw from Markstrom and the Sedins-Erkisson line and it will be fun to watch and see if that continue through the rest of the tournament. The only area of concern would be Sbisa’s inability to crack Team Europe’s blue line that includes NHL free agents Christian Ehrhoff and Dennis Seidenberg.