Leksands vs Malmo Redhawks
Early onto the season, Malmo Redhaws did announce a couple of solid looking signings which revealed the ambitions of getting into the playoffs this campaign. It paid off very early on the season after proving to be a hard team to beat, and this has set the tone and base for why they are currently sharing the second place in the league with Brynas.
Leksands are a newly promoted team, and have managed only 4 wins in 21 matches so far - to nobodys surprise. They have scored the fewest goals and conceded the most - and that is usually a bad combination, obviously. These teams know each other well after playing against each other in the second tier a few seasons ago, when Malmo in fact defeated Leksands in the playoff, which led to Malmo Redhawks being promoted to SHL, the finest league in Sweden.
The hosts have a good fan base, and despite being a quite turbulent organization, they have recently collected two significant victories against solid opposition, namely Vaxjo and Lulea - both victories coming at home. Other than that, it has been a rather tough season for the newcomers who will have one aim, which is to remain in the league. Compare those ambitions with their opponents, Malmo Redhawks are looking to chase the title this season but first have to get into the playoffs - which by the looks of it at the moment is a very reasonable goal.
Having in mind, a couple of important factors to consider - Malmo currently have the third best shot conversion in the league, of 10.21% going into the net whereas Leksands rank at the very bottom in the same category at only 6.32%. Another category that is important in hockey is the so called special teams, where Malmo rank first in the entire league with a pretty incredibe 19 goals in 54 powerplay opportunities, basically scoring on every third opportunity on average, which will come handy against a side like Leksands who have conceded the most goals of anyone in the competition. Both teams do have a tendency of allowing a lot of shots against their own nets, so the defense will be key in this match in order to limit scoring chances.
Forward Fredrik Storm (2+6) is suspended five games due to a delivering a nasty tackle in the previous match. However, coach Peter Andersson hope to have captain and forward Erik Forsell back for the clash versus Leksands.
These are two sides with two completely different realities and ambitions, and it is not only shown on the table but also on the ice. Surely, Leksand do feel the desperation of victories creeping in to the minds, while being underdogs in every single match, but they should eventually be outbattled by a side like Malmo Redhawks who also rank third in the category of being physical, which will wear out any opponent. I expect a game with many scoring chances, many indicators hint towards many goals and definitely, the visitors have the important edges in those categories to claim a victory and establish themselves further in the top.