Hurricanes’ Lindholm sets up WJC game-winner

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network
Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

RALEIGH, N.C. – Carolina Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller believes that rookie Elias Lindholm’s experience at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will keep him sharp and prepared to return as a better player for the team in the NHL.

Following Carolina’s practice at PNC Arena on Monday, Muller took some time to not only talk about his experience playing in the marquee international tournament, but also to point out its value to his rookie forward.

“It’s good hockey,” Muller said.

“To play at that pace and to play the minutes he’s going to play and the situations he’s playing in, that was our hope, that he was going to be a more confident player back to playing the minutes that he needs to. I’m sure we’re going to see a better hockey player in a more positive way as opposed to if he had stayed and played less minutes here.”

On Tuesday, Lindholm continued to excel at the tournament as he extended his point scoring streak to two games (1g 3a), and tallied the initial assist on the game-winning goal that earned Sweden a 3-2 victory over Russia.

Playing the puck against the left boards, he got to the puck first, passed it to the blue line where the shot was taken from, and absorbed the hit along the boards while his team scored the winning goal on the play.

He continued to exhibit all traits of the maturing hockey player that the Hurricanes have been hoping he would become sooner rather than later.

Entering the quarterfinal round of the tournament undefeated, Lindholm is part of a talented team that won the silver medal last year, and is currently playing well enough to once again be considered serious contenders to earn a spot in the gold medal game for the third consecutive year.