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  • Writer's pictureJacqueline Oiga

IIHF Worlds QF: Finland v Sweden Preview

23 MAY 2019. A notorious rivalry, the much anticipated quarterfinal between Finland and Sweden could be one of the most exciting games of the tournament. With everything on the line in this elimination game, let's take a look at how these teams stack up against each other.



🇫🇮FINLAND

(Group A Preliminary: 16 pts | 5-1-1)


TEAM STATS:

• 7th in power play (25.0%)

• 4th in penalty kill (83.3%)

• 11th in scoring efficiency

• 3rd in Sv%



PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR:

(Roster includes 2 NHL players, 2 AHL players)


Kaapo KAKKO (#24)

Draftee (Liiga- TPS)

7pts (6G, 1A), +7


Mikko LEHTONEN (#4)

Liiga - HPK

6pts (1G, 5A), +4


Kevin LANKINEN (#30)

AHL - Rockford IceHogs

4W (1 SO), 93.8 Sv%, 1.4 GAA




🇸🇪SWEDEN

(Group B Preliminary: 15 pts | 5-2-0)


TEAM STATS:

• 5th in power play (32.0%)

• 1st in penalty kill (90.0%)

• 3rd in scoring efficiency

• 10th in Sv%



PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR:

(Roster includes 21 NHL players)


William NYLANDER (#88)

NHL - Toronto Maple Leafs

17pts (5G, 12A), +15

*Currently leads tournament in points, assists, faceoff%, and +/-


Patric HÖRNQVIST (#72)

NHL - Pittsburgh Penguins

9pts (6G, 3A), +9


Alexander WENNBERG (#10)

NHL - Columbus Blue Jackets

9pts (2G, 7A), +10


Elias PETTERSSON (#40)

NHL - Vancouver Canucks

9pts (2G, 7A), ±0


Oliver EKMAN-LARSSON (#23)

NHL - Arizona Coyotes

6pts (3G, 3A), +7


Elias LINDHOLM (#28)

NHL - Calgary Flames

6pts (1G, 5A), +1


Anton LANDER

KHL - Ak Bars Kazan

8pts (4G, 4A), +3




TEAM COMPARISON


Scoring Efficiency favors SWEDEN

Power Play favors SWEDEN

Penalty Kill favors SWEDEN

Save Percentage favors FINLAND




PREDICTION


Sweden has a lot more power and a stacked lineup. The stats swing in their favor, but it's also important to put in context of their competition. While matched against strong teams like Russia and Czech Republic in Group B, Finland had more objectively difficult competition in Group A.


The team statistics aren't too far off from each other to be weighted enough either way. Sweden also struggled against teams like Latvia in the preliminary round, so power isn't necessarily a guarantee.


Personally, I think this game will be well-matched. I still think the odds are in Sweden's favor but it's likely to be a tight match. After all, with a historic rivalry like the one between these two countries, every time they meet will be a heated match up. It should be an exciting game no matter what.




VERDICT


I'm predicting Sweden wins, but in a very close game that won't be easy nor comfortable for either team.



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