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‘Swedish House Mafia’ line leads Abbotsford Canucks to 2-1 win over Henderson

Linus Karlsson and Nils Höglander both score to help Canucks pick up 21st win this season
A dog pile occurs in front of the Henderson Silver Knights goal during the second period of Saturday’s Abbotsford Canucks game. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)

The Swedish House Mafia line made some beautiful music for the Abbotsford Canucks on Saturday (Jan. 7) night, as the combo of Linus Karlsson, Nils Höglander and Nils Åman scored twice in a 2-1 win over the Henderson Silver Knights.

After falling behind 1-0 in the first, Höglander tied the game up with a power play goal at 9:57 and Karlsson then recorded his 10th on the season at 17:22 to clinch the win.

Karlsson’s goal saw the rookie stickhandle the puck through his legs in front of the net and shelf it past Henderson goalie Laurent Brossoit. The line had a number of chances the entire game, as both Karlsson and Höglander had four shots on goal, and the rookie stated it was a relief to give his team the win.

“I missed a lot of chances this game and it was just nice to see that puck go in,” the humble forward said. “It was an important goal too.”

Karlsson now leads the American Hockey League in rookie scoring and has 27 points in 33 games. He said he’s back on track after a down patch of games and that he believes his line mates are a big part of his strong recent stretch.

“I think like the last 10 games that I’ve really found something,” he said. “My start was ok and then I had a really bad period but I’ve tried to build my confidence. It’s tough when you’re working hard but you’re off your way – but you just find a way through it and I think I’ve learned a lot.”

Canucks head coach Jeremy Colliton agreed and said he’s been impressed with the play of Karlsson all season.

“He got off to a good start and then there was a bit of a dip,” he said. “But over the last 10 games he’s played really well. Being strong on the puck, advancing and protecting it. Making good decisions through the neutral zone and he’s creating chances for himself and his line mates.”

Karlsson said the communication with Åman and Höglander has helped the line excel. It doesn’t help that both of his line mates have NHL experience.

“I feel like we have found some chemistry,” he said. “It’s really nice to have them here and it’s great to play with two guys who have played in the NHL. We can try to use our strengths – Åman’s speed and Hogs’ strong on the puck and they can do whatever out there.”

Åman has five points in six games with Abbotsford, while Höglander has five points in eight games.

Aside from the SHM line, Abbotsford got another strong effort from goalie Arturs Silovs. The Latvian made 26 saves for his 14th win on the season. His numbers continue to improve, as his goals against average now moves to 2.63 and his save percentage has increased to .900.

Colliton said Silovs has stepped up to the challenge and has taken advantage of his opportunities so far this season. With Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko hurt, it has moved Abbotsford’s Collin Delia to Vancouver. As a result, Silovs has become the definitive number one in Abbotsford.

“It’s been a great development opportunity for him and he’s done a lot with it,” Colliton said. “Going into this year we knew we wanted him to play some games but it’s probably more than even we expected. Tonight he was really solid and made a couple of difficult saves look simple and that’s what the best goalies do.”

Forward Phil Di Giuseppe led all players with five shots on goal and the Canucks had the 30-27 shots edge. Abbotsford’s record now sits at 21-10-1-1 and they rank third in the AHL’s Pacific Division. The Canucks are 8-2 in the last 10 games and have a sparkling record of 12-3-0-1 on home ice.

A large crowd of 6,023 took in tonight’s game at the Abbotsford Centre.

The club is now off for the next week and hit the road for games against the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday (Jan. 14) and Sunday (Jan. 15). The next home game occurs on Jan. 18 when the Calgary Wranglers come to the AC.

RELATED: Di Giuseppe’s heroics lead Abbotsford Canucks to 4-3 win over Henderson Silver Knights

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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