Canada falls to Sweden in final preliminary game

Sweden capitalized on three power plays and an empty net in its 5-2 win over Canada, closing their final preliminary-round game of the 2016 World Juniors.

HELSINKI — Alexander Nylander and Gustav Forsling had a goal and an assist each as Sweden beat Canada 5-2 on Thursday in the final game of the preliminary round at the world junior hockey championship.

Canada was guaranteed third place in Group A regardless of Thursday’s result. The Canadians will play host Finland in quarter-final play Saturday at Hartwall Arena.

Adrian Kempe and Anton Karlsson also tallied for Sweden (4-0), while Rasmus Asplund added an empty-netter. Sweden will next face Slovakia in the quarter-finals.

Mitchell Stephens and Mitch Marner scored for Canada, which had a regulation win, overtime win and two losses in the preliminary round. Mackenzie Blackwood made 27 saves on 31 shots in front of a raucous crowd at Helsinki Ice Hall.

Linus Soderstrom stopped 21 shots for the victory. Felix Sandstrom was in the Swedish net for the final three minutes of the game and turned aside the only shot he faced.

Three of Sweden’s goals came on the power play as Canada struggled to stay out of the penalty box throughout the game, picking up 10 minor penalties in all.

Penalty trouble in the first period cost Canada as Nylander banged in a rebound on the power play 4:37 into the first period. Less than three minutes later, Canada was back on the penalty kill when Forsling gave Sweden a 2-0 lead.

Stephens jumped on a rebound at 15:51 of the opening period to cut into Sweden’s lead. Canada had started playing more physically after Forsling’s goal, knocking several Swedish players to the ice with thundering checks.

Canada’s undisciplined play was a factor again in the second period as Kempe added to Sweden’s lead on the power play at 13:38. He one-timed a pass into Canada’s net from a sharp angle to make it 3-1.

Karlsson helped Sweden pull away at 7:09 of the third with his team’s first even-strength goal of the game. Marner made it a 4-2 game with a power-play goal at 14:10.

Blackwood was pulled in the last minute of the game, allowing Asplund to score into the empty net after Andreas Englund broke up a Canadian pass.

Swedish star William Nylander, the older brother of Alexander, did not play. He hasn’t played since Switzerland’s Chris Egli levelled him with a bodycheck to the upper body in a game last Saturday.

Sweden’s team doctor told reporters that the team hopes Nylander will play later in the tournament. Egli was suspended three games for the hit.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.