The preliminary round had a lot of surprises, from the Americans' surprising early ouster, the return of the Czechs and Slovaks to the medal rounds, and Sweden turning the table on last year's comeback kings Russia in the final game to claim first in the group. Before we get going, why not just have a look at that epic Sweden/Russia New Year's Eve game, from a totally pro-Swedish perspective:
Here's a quick look back at the games, players of the game and the big scorers so far in the tournament:
After the jump, we'll recap some of the stats through the preliminary round:
"Hands of Stone" is a recurring theme throughout the tournament so far, but its linemate Jonathan Huberdeau who is setting him up most often, and Ryan Strome is cashing in big time as well. Of note, Yevgeni Kuznetsov has zero points against playoff teams in this tournament, while I've deducted one goal from the Sebastian Collberg compared to the IIHF's rankings because they count the game-winning shootout goals as a goal which is quite obviously stupid. Max Friberg is tied with Mark Stone for the goal scoring lead, while Brandon Gormley is the only defenceman to break into the top 20... there hasn't been a standout offensive performer from the blueline as of yet, though Gormley's performance to date is definitely notable.
Yeah, Sweden is going to need a lot better from Gustafsson in the semifinals and finals, but he leads all goaltenders in the wins statistic despite his dismal performance to date. Goaltending differences definitely stand out as a reason why the Czechs and Slovaks made it over the Americans and Swiss this year. Also, poor Sebastian Feuk... he never stood a chance.