With 3 wins and a full 9 points, Linköping pulls themselves out of the bottom two this week with an incredible performance from the entire team.
Team of the Week
At the start of the week Linköping saw themselves sitting in the bottom two relegation positions. They were also on their worst losing streak in club history, having lost their previous ten games.
Their first game of the week came against another team that were also struggling. HV71 had lost four in a row but were hoping their succcess against Linköping this season would continue. The first two frames were relatively quiet as the two teams exchanged chances and both were able to ripple the mesh. The game headed to the third period all locked at one.
The third was all Linköping as they were able to capitalize well on the few chances they had. Linköping managed just seven shots on net, but were able to score a trio of goals in the final frame without allowing any for HV71. The 4-1 victory snapped the ten game losing streak and secured a very important three points.
Their second game of the week came against Rögle, a team they had split the season series with so far. Linköping were also looking for back to back wins for the first time since mid November. Rögle would open the scoring in the early stages of the first period. Linköping, however, were undaunted as they answered back just a couple of minutes later to tie the game. They followed that up with another two in the second and, once again, put up a three goal third period to grab the 5-1 win.
Having outscored their first two opponents of the week by a combined score of 9-1, Linköping had confidence on their side as they went in to, arguably, their toughest matchup of the week. They faced off against a Färjestad team who had already beaten them twice this season and who boasted the best goals per game average in the league. It would be a tough test for Linköping, and one that would require a complete team effort if they hoped to come away with the win.
They did get a bit of help, however, as a familiar face made his return to Linköping for the game against Färjestad on Saturday afternoon. Jonas Junland put the White Lion back on for the first time since 2016 and this time, he was wearing the C. The new captains presence clearly had a positive effect on the team as Linköping managed to shutout the top scoring team in the league. Jacob Johansson put up his first shutout performance of the season, becoming just the second goaltender to do so against Färjestad this year. He turned aside all 27 shots he faced, including 16 in the third period alone.
With the victory, Linköping complete the full 9 point week and have put a bit of breathing room between themselves and the bottom two. They're also now just three points back of 11th placed Brynäs and find themselves just nine points back of a playoff spot.
Linköping now has a week off and will look to continue their success on Saturday as they hit the road to take on Skellefteå.
Game of the Week
Our game of the week this week came back on Thursday evening as Färjestad played host to the Växjö Lakers. Coming into the contest neither team had had much recent success. Färjestad was looking to avoid a three game losing streak and Växjö was looking for just their second win in their previous five games. The first two matchups of the season between these teams were both tight affairs and both teams had claimed victory to split the season series.
Färjestad would come out hard in the first and took an early lead as a beautiful cross ice feed from Victor Ejdsell found Lucas Ekeståhl-Jonsson who ripped one home to open the socring less than a minute in. Gustav Rydahl would follow that up with an unassisted effort as he streaked into the offensive zone and beat Viktor Andrén with a quick wrister to send the game into the first intermission 2-0 in favour of the home team.
A penalty early in the second gave the Lakers an opportunity to pull the game back within one. Unfortunately for them it was Färjestad who would capitalize short handed as Per Åslund snapped home the drop pass from Linus Johansson to take the 3-0 lead. Despite the score defecit, the Lakers continued to pressure and would capitalize on the very same powerplay opportunity. A scramble in front of the net resulted in Arvid Holm getting caught way out of position and Linus Högberg was able to ripple the mesh of the empty net. A video review was needed, but the goal would stand and the Lakers pulled themselves back within two. Despite a couple of good chances for both teams in the remainder of the period, the score would remian the same heading into the final frame of regulation.
The third period proved to be a tough one for Färjestad as the Lakers managed to hold them to just three shots in the frame. With just five minutes remaining, the Lakers capitalized on a man advantage as the shot from Ilari Melart found the back of the net to pull the game back wihtin one. Following that up almost exactly two minutes later, a beautiful one handed redirect from Pontus Holmberg tied the game and forced the extra frame.
Overtime produced exactly one shot about halfway through the extra frame. Pontus Holmberg fooled Arvid Holm with a fake slap pass right to Ilari Melart who tapped home his second of the game and the game winner, completing the 4 goal comback for Växjö.
Check out full game highlights here:
Luleå remains in top spot this week with 73 points. Örebro and Frölunda both move up one spot and knock Färjestad down into 4th. Djurgården propels past Rögle and knocks Skellefteå out of the top six. HV71, Malmö and Växjö remain in 8th, 9th and 10th respectively. Witht their stellar week, Linköping lift themselves out of the bottom spot and back into 12th, knocking Leksand back into 13th and returning Oskarshamn to the bottom spot in the standings.
Check out this weeks top goals: