Elias Pettersson was turning heads with Team Sweden on the first day of the World Championship in Slovakia on Friday.
The Vancouver Canucks’ rookie sensation pulled off a pair of dazzling moves, which went viral on social media.
First was a no-look between-the-legs pass in traffic to Pittsburgh Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist, who scored Sweden’s first goal.
What a play from Elias Pettersson 😱 pic.twitter.com/NnHVUBwju3
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) May 10, 2019
The second play that had everyone buzzing didn’t result in a goal, but was one of those ‘how did he even think of doing that?’ kind of plays.
Entering the offensive zone, Pettersson extended his stick to block the defender’s attempt to check him, leaving the puck in front of him. As he glided into the zone, Pettersson drew the defender to him before kicking the puck back to teammate William Nylander of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
— Ryan Biech (@ryanbiech) May 10, 2019
It had everyone impressed, and it wasn’t just limited to Canucks fans.
— Phenomenon (@Phenomenon98) May 10, 2019
He recognizes that the puck would’ve been swatted away by the dman so he decides against stickhandling. Smartly, he kicks it back to the trailer. Very smart play. That’s a pass on the tape if the defenseman’s stick didn’t touch it
— Ted (@ThatGuy11920) May 10, 2019
Do your dekes bro
— Steve Wickenheiser (@wick_stev) May 10, 2019
— Seahawk Mike (@Go_Hawx_Go) May 10, 2019
— James Louis (@JvCx7) May 10, 2019
Pettersson played 19:35, more than any other Swedish forward, but his impressive outing did not come in a winning effort. The Swedes were upset by the Czech Republic, who won the game 5-2, ending Sweden’s 17-game World Championship winning streak.
The Canucks centre thinks his team has room for improvement, and blamed himself for one of the goals against.
“I think we made some poor mistakes that cost us,” said Pettersson. “I think on their third goal I missed the marking on Voracek in front of the net and there it was, a game-winning goal. It’s just small mistakes that cost us.”
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Loui Eriksson played 15:39 – more than he averaged with the Canucks last season. He registered four shots, but was a -3 in the game. Jacob Markstrom, who was injured in a pre-tournament game, did not dress.
None of the Canucks players participating in the overseas tournament got a winning feeling on the opening day.
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 10, 2019
Troy Stecher played just 9:21, second lowest on Team Canada, in a 3-1 upset loss to Finland.
Canuck fans looking forward to seeing this, Quinn Hughes on the power play. Here he makes a nice play to help Team USA gain control then fires a laser from up top that gets deflected out front. #IIHFWorlds #NTDP #Canucks pic.twitter.com/CAkMcJWnYv
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) May 10, 2019
Quinn Hughes was relied upon more for Team USA, playing 18:15 in a 4-1 loss to host Slovakia. Thatcher Demko backed up former Canucks goalie Cory Schneider for the Americans.