This one's gonna be short.
Here's the basic rundown: Mikael Backlund, whom we all love, and his Team Sweden companions defeated Team Norway 2-1 in the only game a Flame played today. He had no points. He had three shots on net. He took two penalties. He won six of 10 faceoffs. He was on the ice for Sweden's powerplay goal. All this in 16:38 of ice time.
Backlund was third in ice time for Swedish forwards, but only by three seconds; so, needless to say, the Swedes got a lot out of him despite his four minutes in the box.
Backlund showed some truculence today. Both penalties came in the third period: one for roughing, and one for high sticking. The roughing penalty came when the game was still 1-1, but the Swedes managed to avoid being scored on. The high sticking penalty came with just six and a half minutes remaining in the game, but Sweden was able to preserve the one goal lead, so no harm, no foul.
In fact, despite taking both penalties in the third period, Backlund spent most of his time on the ice in the third: 5:54 in total, the most out of all Swedish forwards.
Even though he didn't get any points, today was a good day for Backlund. Team Sweden is counting on him to be a leader - that's why they gave him an "A" - and he's filling that role. Par Marts, the Swedish coach, clearly has a lot of faith in him despite two penalties in the third period of a close game, which can only help his confidence.
So, as always, remember: Mikael Backlund rules.
Meanwhile, the only Flame in action tomorrow is Jiri Hudler. Team Czech Republic will play Team Italy early tomorrow morning, at 7:45 a.m. MT. Everyone else has the day off, but Backlund, Sean Monahan, and Johnny Gaudreau will all be back in action on Thursday.