Chicago Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz and Team USA continue Group A play against Sweden in the 2016 World Junior Championship on Monday at Helsinki Ice Hall.
Schmaltz, the Blackhawks' 2014 first-round pick, had two shots in the U.S.' 4-2 opening win over Canada on Saturday. He posted one assist in five tournament games for Team USA, who finished a disappointing fifth in the 2015 tournament. The 19-year-old North Dakota sophomore has tallied three goals and 23 assists in 20 games this season.
Back-to-back wins over Canada and Sweden would certainly put the U.S. in the driver's seat to win Group A. The Americans play Switzerland and Denmark on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and should beat both, but looking at those games before Sweden would be a costly mistake.
Carolina prospect Alex Nedelijkovic stopped 25 of 27 shots in the win over Canada. He'll need another strong performance to stop Sweden, especially if the Americans are not disciplined like last time out. The Americans went 1 for 2 on the penalty kill, but did kill off Alex DeBrincat's five-minute major penalty for spearing.
Auston Matthews had a goal and assist against Canada, while Zach Werenski, Matthew Tkachuk and Colin White each had two points. Additional scoring from other top players like Sonny Milano and Schmaltz will help the Americans offense.
Team USA will look to repeat the 2004 team's feat, winning WJC gold in Helsinki. Team USA has medaled in three of the last six WJCs, winning bronze in 2011 and gold in 2010 and 2013.
Sweden - Record: 1-0-0 -- Standings: Group A 2nd -- Goal Differential: +5
Sweden forward William Nylander won't play because of a head injury he suffered during Satuday's game against Switzerland.
Nylander left the game in the first period after a hit to the head by Switzerland forward Chris Egli, who received a game misconduct and a three-game suspension. Alexander Nylander, William's younger brother, could cause problems for the Americans. He had three assists against the Swiss, and fellow Maple Leafs prospect Dmytro Timashov scored two goals and an assist.
Sweden lines v USA Lindblom-Kempe-Holmstrom Timashov-A.Nylander-Asplund Forsbacka Karlsson-Eriksson Ek-Grundstrom Looke-Anton Karlsson-Ehn— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 28, 2015
Sweden D v USA Lagesson-Forsling Ollas Mattsson-Englund Larsson-Carlsson Pettersson Soderstrom starts— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 28, 2015
How to Watch
When: 8 a.m. CT
Where: Helinski Ice Hall