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Swedes hope to improve against Belarus

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

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Swedes hope to improve against Belarus
Belarus vs. Sweden

BELARUS (0-1-0-0) vs. SWEDEN (1-0-0-0)

NOTE: records are presented as three-point wins (regulation time), two-point wins (OT or shootout), one-point losses (OT or shootout), zero-point losses (regulation time).

What to watch -- Sweden faced a strong test by the upstart Germans on Wednesday and skated away with a 2-0 win. Belarus didn't fare so well against Finland in its opener of pool play, losing 5-1 to a Finnish team that may have more firepower than we initially thought.

Based on his calm yet revealing demeanor during his postgame news conference, it was clear that Sweden coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson wants more from his team. He wants better tempo and shorter shifts and thinks that will translate to more goals.

It'll also be interesting again to watch Peter Forsberg. The former NHL superstar said his chronically injured foot felt good after Wednesday's win. Also, will Gustafsson keep Johan Franzen on the fourth line with Sammy Pahlsson and Fredrik Modin?

As for the Belarusians, they are clearly overmatched in this one -- just as they were against the Finns. But they were also trailing just 2-1 late in the second period in that one and were on a power play. So you know their will is there to hang tough.

Team Reports:

Belarus -- For a team that has only two NHLers on its roster, Montreal's Sergei Kostitsyn and Ruslan Salei, who has played in two games for Colorado this season, Belarus hung tough against the Finns and at least made it a game going into the third period.

It's no secret that Belarus is going to need absolutely unbelievable goaltending to pull out an upset in this tournament. Vitali Koval was good against the Finns with 40 saves.

"It's is still not enough to win, and that's the main point," Koval said. "Doesn't matter how many saves I made."

Koval will have to be great again against Sweden and the Belarusians are going to have to find someone other than Kostitsyn to put the puck in the net. Still, expect Belarus to play a very conservative game as they try to limit the uber-talented Swedes and hope to cash in on some mistakes or power plays.

It's really their only hope.

Sweden -- One game down and it was a shutout, but still the Swedes have lots of questions to answer going forward.

Will Forsberg develop chemistry with Henrik Zetterberg and Patric Hornqvist? Will Franzen stay on the fourth line? Will Mattias Weinhandl stick with the Sedin twins? Why did Mattias Ohlund and not Nicklas Lidstrom lead the Swedes in ice time against Germany? Can they stay out of the penalty box?

Like we said, lots of questions. But, they can all be answered Friday against Belarus -- a game that's really just another tuneup for Rivalry Sunday when the Swedes face their border rivals, the Finns.

"We can skate," Daniel Sedin said. "It's a matter of getting tougher."

Total NHL players on rosters -- Belarus 2; Sweden 19

Puck Drop -- "There are no easy games anymore," goalie Henrik Lundqvist told NHL.com. "It's a progress to get the speed going. (Gustafsson) gave a lot of guys ice time and maybe down the stretch we'll play some guys a little bit more, but it was important for everybody to get out there."

NHL.com predicts -- Sweden finds the chemistry it lacked against Germany and rolls to an easy win, a good sign heading into Rivalry Sunday.

Belarus
Sweden
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
11 D. Alfredsson DET 5'11" 203 12/11/1972 Gothenburg, SWE
19 N. Bäckström WSH 6'1" 208 11/23/1987 Gävle, SWE
14 P. Berglund STL 6'3" 217 6/2/1988 Västerås, SWE
42 J. Ericsson 6'2" 212 2/22/1980 Skellefteå, SWE
21 L. Eriksson BOS 6'2" 196 7/17/1985 Goteborg, SWE
62 C. Hagelin NYR 5'11" 186 8/23/1988 Sodertalje, SWE
90 M. Johansson WSH 6'1" 205 10/6/1990 Landskrona, SWE
16 M. Krüger CHI 6'0" 181 5/27/1990 Stockholm, SWE
92 G. Landeskog COL 6'1" 204 11/23/1992 Stockholm, SWE
41 G. Nyquist DET 5'11" 185 9/1/1989 Halmstad, SWE
22 D. Sedin VAN 6'1" 187 9/26/1980 Ornskoldsvik, SWE
18 J. Silfverberg ANA 6'1" 200 10/13/1990 Gävle, SWE
20 A. Steen STL 5'11" 212 3/1/1984 Winnipeg, MB
40 H. Zetterberg DET 5'11" 197 10/9/1980 Njurunda, SWE
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
23 A. Edler VAN 6'3" 215 4/21/1986 Ostersund, SWE
3 O. Ekman-Larsson PHX 6'2" 190 7/17/1991 Karlskrona, SWE
52 J. Ericsson DET 6'4" 221 3/2/1984 Karlskrona, SWE
4 N. Hjalmarsson CHI 6'3" 207 6/6/1987 Eksjo, SWE
65 E. Karlsson OTT 6'0" 180 5/31/1990 Landsbro, SWE
55 N. Kronwall DET 6'0" 190 1/12/1981 Stockholm, SWE
27 J. Oduya CHI 6'0" 190 10/1/1981 Stockholm, SWE
7 H. Tallinder BUF 6'4" 209 1/10/1979 Stockholm, SWE
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
1 J. Enroth BUF 5'10" 166 6/25/1988 Stockholm, SWE
50 J. Gustavsson DET 6'3" 192 10/24/1984 Danderyd, SWE
30 H. Lundqvist NYR 6'1" 188 3/2/1982 Are, SWE