VANCOUVER – Sweden remain undefeated in the tournament, grabbing their third win in the tournament, now over Finland, 3-0. Loui Eriksson scored two, Nicklas Bäckström scored one and assisted two, Henrik Lundqvist now has two shutouts in as many games.Click here for the photo gallery of the game.
"We played a good solid game. We wanted the bye and now we get two days off. We didn't give them much and did a good job of shutting them down. We feel like we're getting better every game," said Sweden's Daniel Sedin.
The 2006 Olympic finalists’ rematch was a typical Finland-Sweden game: both teams were cautious and avoided taking risks, the goalies were the biggest stars, and penalties played a major role.
"It's disappointing. Our power play was awful. Theirs was good, and that was the difference," said Finland's Olli Jokinen.
"We had a great chance with a 5-on-3 in the second and didn't do anything. That was the turning point. But now we have to move on and prepare for our next game," he added.
Even if Sweden outshot Finland 16-5 in the first period, it was mostly because Finland also gave Sweden a 5-on-3 powerplay about five minutes into the game. Miikka Kiprusoff in the Finnish net was peppered with shots, but he turned them away. Mostly.
Nicklas Bäckström got the puck in the corner, left of the Finnish net. He sent a genius pass to the far post where Loui Eriksson - whose entire family had cheered the Swedish team on the jumbotron just a few minutes earlier - tapped it in to give Sweden the all-important lead in the game at 6:41.
Peter Forsberg hasn’t been the force he used to be - he hasn’t scored an Olympic goal since Nagano 1998, having missed the 2002 tournament and going through the Turin tournament without scoring a goal - but Swedish fans needn’t worry. First, good old Forsberg is still a valuable member of the team, and second, Tre Kronor already has a new Foppa on the roster: Nicklas Bäckström.
Bäckström stepped up in the game against Finland. At 24:19, Daniel Sedin went around the Finnish net, and flipped a pass to Bäckström who fired a wrist shot to top shelf, on Kiprusoff’s glove side.
"It was a great pass from Daniel," Bäckström said modestly.
Then Sweden got into penalty trouble giving Finland several chances to get back into. Sweden took four minor penalties in a span of eight minutes, including a 5-on-3 situations, but Finland couldn’t capitalize on their chances.
"They had done their homework well, they obviously knew exactly what we were trying to do. This isn't simply good enough, we'll come up with some new variations," said Teemu Selanne.
Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist even made saves with his mask. Twice.
"I don't want to put my glove in front of shots that come towards my eyes, in case the puck will bounce off somewhere, so I'd rather put my head in the way," Lundqvist said.
At 36:25, it was Sweden’s turn to have a powerplay. Johan Franzén got the puck at the hash marks left of Kiprusoff’s net. He sent it to Loui Eriksson in the corner, and just as he received the puck, Eriksson stepped to the front of the net, going around Kiprusoff who was trying to make a stick save, tapping the puck into the net for 3-0, at 38:08.
Bäckström collected his third point of the game.
Finland's Joni Pitkänen received a game disconduct for checking to the head when his elbow hit Patrik Hörnqvist in a hit in the Finnish zone. Having to start the third period with a four-minute box play was a hole too deep for the Finns to get out of.
"We'll have to go back and watch some videos to see what went wrong. Obviously, we weren't ready to play tonight," said Finland's Ville Peltonen.
Even with the loss, Finland finished fourth in overall standings, and receives a bye to the quarterfinals.
"We've played five games in eight days so any extra rest is huge," said Selanne.
Pitkänen's match penalty also means that he will receive an automatic one-game suspension and will miss at least the quarterfinal game.
"It's a big loss, because he's a key part on the power play and on the breakouts, he's such a good skater," said Sami Salo.
Sweden recorded three wins in the group stage, winning its group.
"It doesn't matter which team we'll face in the quarterfinal, it's going to be a tough game. Everybody knows that. We'll just have to recharge our batteries now, and focus on that game," said Bäckström.