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Finland
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game recap

Sweden edges Finland, gets shot at Olympic gold

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Sweden edges Finland, gets shot at Olympic gold
Finland 1, Sweden 2

SOCHI -- Sweden is short two of its three world-class players named Henrik, but one just might be enough to win them gold given the rest of the talent available.

New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves and the Swedes parlayed strong defense and the lone special-teams goal of the game into a 2-1 victory Friday against archrival Finland in a 2014 Sochi Olympics semifinal to advance to the gold-medal game Sunday at Bolshoy Ice Dome.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS


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Sweden will play Canada on Sunday in the gold-medal game (7 a.m. ET, NBC, CBC) and has a chance to win it for the second time in three Olympics.

Finland will play the United States on Saturday in the bronze-medal game (10 a.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).

"We've been told that we're kind of up there but not really with Canada, Russia and the U.S.," Sweden forward Daniel Alfredsson said. "We got into this tournament and we've played pretty good but not great and everyone has looked for us to be better. [Friday] we came through with a huge game when we needed to and that's a great feeling. We definitely deserved to win [Friday] and we're going to enjoy this for a few hours and then we have one big test left. We want to make sure we go home with the gold and make Sunday's game our best yet."

The tournament began with Sweden short Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin and Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen. Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, who filled the same role on the Swedish team, was lost to injury during the preliminary round.

But this group, led by Lundqvist and Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, has reached the final. The Swedes haven't dominated at times but they also rarely have been threatened. Sweden has trailed twice in four games for a total of six minutes, 45 seconds.

"I think [Friday] we played really, really well [defensively]," Karlsson said. "I think it won us the game [Friday]. We were really sound in the neutral zone and the defensive zone and took away their speed as much as we could. We really didn't give them any of the quality scoring chances that we've been giving up earlier in the tournament. [Lundqvist] has been playing unbelievable for us as well. In that part we feel pretty confident."

It was the 76th time Sweden and Finland have played in the IIHF World Championships or the Olympics; Sweden holds a 44-17-15 edge and has won the past three meetings in the Olympics, including victories in the preliminary round four years ago in Vancouver and in the gold-medal game eight years ago in Turin.

Finland won the prior important meeting between the teams, a 6-1 victory at the 2011 IIHF World Championship. The Finns also have been the most consistent country in the Olympics since the NHL started sending players in 1998. They've won a medal three times in the four Olympics played with NHL players and could make it a fourth Saturday. However, that haul does not include a gold medal.

"Obviously it has been a great tournament and I'm very proud of our team," Finland captain Teemu Selanne said. "It is obviously disappointing to lose this game but [Saturday] still is a lot to win. A bronze medal would be an unbelievable thing, so that is our goal now even though it is very disappointing right now."

Finland had four of the first five power plays Friday but could not convert, including a 5-on-3 for 1:35 in the first period.

"Little things," Finland coach Erkka Westerlund said with a sigh. "For example [Friday] we had chances to win this game but we also had difficult periods."

Sweden got a second man-advantage late in the second period and cashed in for the lead.

Karlsson ripped a shot from the top of the offensive zone that ticked off goaltender Kari Lehtonen's right arm and under the crossbar. It was Karlsson's fourth goal of the tournament. He has eight points, which tied him with Phil Kessel of the United States for the lead.

"I think he's really enjoying himself playing in the Olympics with great players," Alfredsson said. "It seems like he can blossom even more when he's surrounded by Sedin and [Nicklas] Backstrom and [Alexander] Steen. They make him look even better I think. It is amazing to me that he is 23 years old and playing as mature as he is. Everybody talks about him with making mistakes here and there, but it was an Olympic semifinal and I think he played outstanding. Smart, was in the right position most of the time, joined the rush when he needed. But I was really impressed with his game."

Patrik Berglund said, "He's the best D-man-slash-forward in the world. We're happy to have him. It's hard sometime when you're practicing and you count four forwards all the time. You wonder where your guy is. But so far so good."

Winnipeg Jets forward Olli Jokinen opened the scoring for Finland with his second goal of the tournament, at 6:17 of the second period. Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen sent the puck out of his zone and into the left corner in Sweden's end but a linesman waved off icing.

Jokinen won the race to the puck and snapped a shot that leaked through Lundqvist and across the goal line. The goal initially was waved off, but after a video review the goal stood and Finland had a 1-0 lead.

The Finns controlled more of the play after the goal but Loui Eriksson tied the game less than five minutes later. Backstrom sent a pass from beyond the goal line to Jonathan Ericsson, who fed Eriksson at the far side of the net for his second goal of the tournament at 11:39.

Lehtonen was a surprise starter for this game. The Dallas Stars goaltender had to step in because Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was out with an illness. Antti Niemi of the San Jose Sharks was the backup.

When Finland plays for bronze Saturday it will mark the end of an era. Selanne, the best player in the country's history, will skate in his final Olympic game in a Suomi jersey.

"I have a nice trophy case at home," Selanne said. "Three medals from Olympics. It would be nice to have four."


GAME SUMMARY

SCORING
FIN 0 1 0 - 1
SWE 0 2 0 - 2

First Period
Penalties - Steen SWE (hooking) 3:26, Berglund SWE (roughing) 12:53, Kronwall SWE (interference) 13:18

Second Period
1. FIN, Jokinen (Vatanen) 6:17
2. SWE, Eriksson (Ericsson, Backstrom) 11:39
3. SWE, Karlsson - PPG (Steen, D. Sedin) 16:26
Penalties - Granlund FIN (charging) 3:54, Alfredsson SWE (cross checking) 7:50, Jokinen FIN (tripping) 14:39

Third Period
Penalties - D. Sedin SWE (holding) 10:58

SHOTS ON GOAL
FIN 10 8 8 - 26
SWE 13 9 3 - 25

Goaltenders (saves-shots against) - SWE: Lundqvist (W, 25-26); FIN: Lehtonen (L, 23-25).

Power plays (goals-chances) - FIN: 0-5; SWE: 1-2

Finland
# Forwards Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
50 J. Aaltonen 6'0" 196 6/4/1985 Ii, FIN
16 A. Barkov FLA 6'2" 205 9/2/1995 Tampere, FIN
64 M. Granlund MIN 5'10" 186 2/26/1992 Oulu, FIN
26 J. Immonen 6'0" 198 4/19/1982 Rantasalmi, FIN
36 J. Jokinen PIT 5'11" 198 4/1/1983 Kalajoki, FIN
12 O. Jokinen WPG 6'2" 210 12/5/1978 Kuopio, FIN
71 L. Komarov 5'10" 187 1/23/1987 Narva, EST
27 P. Kontiola 6'0" 205 10/4/1984 Seinajoki, FIN
28 L. Korpikoski PHX 6'1" 205 7/28/1986 Turku, FIN
21 J. Lehterä 6'1" 201 12/23/1987 Helsinki, FIN
41 A. Pihlström 5'11" 181 10/22/1984 Vantaa, FIN
15 T. Ruutu CAR 6'0" 205 2/16/1983 Vantaa, FIN
23 S. Salminen 5'10" 165 5/31/1988 Pori, FIN
8 T. Selänne ANA 6'0" 209 7/3/1970 Helsinki, FIN
# Defense Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
5 L. Kukkonen 6'0" 187 9/18/1981 Oulu, FIN
38 J. Hietanen 5'10" 187 6/14/1985 Hämeenlinna, FIN
18 S. Lepistö 6'1" 194 10/17/1984 Espoo, FIN
3 O. Määttä PIT 6'2" 206 8/22/1994 Jyväskylä, FIN
6 S. Salo TBL 6'3" 215 9/2/1974 Turku, FIN
44 K. Timonen PHI 5'10" 194 3/18/1975 Kuopio, FIN
4 O. Väänänen 6'4" 216 8/18/1980 Vantaa, FIN
45 S. Vatanen ANA 5'10" 183 6/3/1991 Jyväskylä, FIN
# Goalies Club HT WT DOB Birthplace
32 K. Lehtonen DAL 6'4" 210 11/16/1983 Helsinki, FIN
31 A. Niemi SJS 6'2" 210 8/29/1983 Vantaa, FIN
40 T. Rask BOS 6'2" 185 3/10/1987 Savonlinna, FIN
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