KEYS TO THE GAME

Vancouver Sun - - SPORTS -

1. Pet­ters­son al­ways makes point

Held to a sec­ondary as­sist Thurs­day, Elias Pet­ters­son still has 17 points (10-7) and leads the Calder Tro­phy points race. More im­por­tantly, the Swedish cen­tre has em­braced a three-zone aware­ness to com­ple­ment his un­der­rated skat­ing, pre­cise play­mak­ing and su­perla­tive shot. And his we-not-me mantra is in­fec­tious.

So, what if he doesn’t score? “It’s good be­cause every­body is bring­ing of­fence and ev­ery­one feels good about that and is gain­ing con­fi­dence,” Pet­ters­son said Fri­day. “I had some chances (in Bos­ton), but I’d rather win.”

2. Dahlin will be worth watch­ing

Ras­mus Dahlin, the first-over­all pick in the 2018 draft, is ac­cli­mat­ing to the NHL as a third-pair­ing de­fence­man. His five points (1-4) in 16 games don’t tell the true story.

“He’s good de­fen­sively but some­times he plays like a for­ward with his stick­han­dling,” said Pet­ters­son, who played with Dahlin at the world ju­niors.

3. Eriks­son turn­ing back clock?

Loui Eriks­son got to the net on his first goal Thurs­day in Bos­ton — it started with a Markus Gran­lund chance off a turnover and an Erik Gud­bran­son shot — be­fore the Swede back­handed a re­bound home. He then went one bet­ter by tip­ping a Ben Hut­ton power-play point shot down. He also had a team-high three take-aways.

4. Can de­fence re­main of­fen­sive?

Gud­bran­son has points in four straight games (1-4) and his six points are al­ready higher than last sea­son. Hut­ton had two points Thurs­day (1-1) and his six points (4-2) have al­ready equalled 201718. Both de­fence­men are skat­ing bet­ter, are more con­fi­dent and jump­ing up into the play.

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