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Calgary Flames

World Championship day 7: Monahan, Gaudreau, Backlund

The Flames are continuing to have a good World Championship.



Three Flames were in action during the seventh day of the IIHF World Championship round robin.

Team Canada and Sean Monahan

Bad news: Monahan's ice time went down.

Good news: Canada beat Denmark 6-1.

Monahan only played 8:47 this game; in comparison, Mark Scheifele, whom he has to fight for the role of fourth line centre, played 7:10 – a big step up from his previous ice time totals of 2:34 and 2:20. Monahan’s linemates, meanwhile, Jonathan Huberdeau and Joel Ward, played 12:45 and 14:26 respectively, so it appears Tippett is trying to use all of his forwards now.

Monahan lost the two faceoffs he took, while Scheifele won all nine of his. Monahan also only had two shots on net, while Scheifele had four.

Basically, don't be surprised to see the Monahan vs. Scheifele battle continue in Team Canada's next game. They play Team Italy tomorrow at 7:45 a.m. MT.

Team USA and Johnny Gaudreau

Bad news: Team USA lost to Team Latvia 6-5. RIP Team USA.

Good news: Johnny's back on the scoreboard! He had an assist in the loss.

The game was 4-4 until the Latvians scored with a little over five minutes to go – and then again, with just over two minutes. The Americans pulled Tim Thomas and had Gaudreau on the ice, and he paid dividends for them, getting the primary assist with just 1:30 to go on Brock Nelson’s goal to pull them back within one. However, that was it for them.

Gaudreau played 19:16 in the loss, fourth out of all American forwards. His linemates, Kevin Hayes and Justin Abdelkader, only played 16:54 and 15:09 respectively, so even though Gaudreau isn’t getting the most ice time, he’s still being highly valued by his team and coach Peter Laviolette. He had 22 shifts, tied with first liners Tyler Johnson and Brock Nelson for most out of all American forwards.

Remember, this is Gaudreau's first tournament against fully grown men. He's only just turned pro, and has only played one NHL game at that. For all his talent, he is smaller, and it's going to take him some time to adjust to the regular grind of a long season against men half a foot taller and 60, 70 lbs. heavier. Which is why it's so impressive to see how much he's being used now, and how much faith his coach has in him.

Gaudreau also had four shots on net, fourth on the team. He'll likely be trying to create more offence tomorrow when Team USA plays Team Kazakhstan at 7:45 a.m. MT (basically, Team Canada and Team USA play at the same time throughout this round robin).

Team Sweden and Mikael Backlund

Bad news: Backlund didn't have any points in Sweden's 2-1 win over Team France.

Good news: He was second in ice time for all forwards and tied for the team lead in shots.

Backlund played 18:11 today and had six shots on net. Half of those shots came during the second period, when Sweden scored both of their goals. He was on the ice for Sweden’s game winning goal, scored by linemate and fellow six-shot-taker Oscar Moller. Sweden’s second goal came 17 seconds after their first.

This game is essentially the same old for Backlund, which is great to see. He has consistently been a major part of Team Sweden all tournament, which should bode well for his future in the NHL, where he will hopefully emerge as a consistent leader there as well.

Backlund is back in action tomorrow when Team Sweden plays Team Slovakia at 11:45 a.m. MT.

by Ari Yanover