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(Page 248 of 248)
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Three keys for Canada, Sweden in Olympic Final

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 10:51 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu and Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writers

SOCHI -- Daniel Alfredsson was in his first full season playing for the senior team at Frölunda in Sweden's top league and still a few months away from being drafted by the Ottawa Senators when his country met Canada in the gold medal game of the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Sweden won that day in a shootout, with Peter Forsberg's one-handed goal immediately becoming an iconic moment in Olympic history.

"I was at home with my parents, watching on TV," Alfredsson said. "We were jumping up and down once [Tommy Salo] made the save on [Paul] Kariya."

Sweden and Canada have a large body of work against each other in international play, but not much at the highest level. The two countries have met twice at the Olympics with NHL-dominant rosters, but neither matchup came in an elimination game.

There was a meeting in the 1984 Canada Cup final and the semifinals of the 1991 Canada Cup and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey. But the level of Swedish hockey has improved since then, starting with Forsberg's generation and moving forward to the current group of players.

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Canada plans to keep Sweden on the defensive

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 8:00 AM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Canada arrived at the 2014 Sochi Olympics loaded with offensive superstars.

Canada had 11 of the top 25 scorers in the NHL among its 14 forwards. The rest of the teams in the tournament had a total of nine.

It stood to reason that Canada would be able to steamroll the opposition with its offense.

The Canadians have done that, except they've turned the theory around; they've used offense as their primary source of defense.

Entering the gold-medal game against Sweden on Sunday (7 a.m. ET; NBC, CBC), Canada has scored 14 goals in five games and has allowed three, largely because the puck has spent an inordinate amount of time in the offensive zone without necessarily finding its way into the back of the opposing net.

"I don't think we've had to play a lot [in the] defensive zone, for the most part," Canada captain Sidney Crosby said after practice Saturday. "We've done a good job of getting on the forecheck and possessing the puck. It's a lot better playing that way than having to play in your [defensive] zone."

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Backstrom steps into role as No. 1 center for Sweden

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 7:47 AM / 2014 Olympics

Corey Masisak - NHL.com Staff Writer

SOCHI -- Alex Ovechkin is the engine for everything with the Washington Capitals, but Nicklas Backstrom has always been the carburetor, finding ways to help make the superstar hum at maximum efficiency.

When Sweden came to the 2014 Sochi Olympics without Henrik Sedin and then lost Henrik Zetterberg after the first game of the tournament, Backstrom was back in a customary place as a No. 1 center. Without the two Henriks, the Swedes went from having three world-class centers to one, and a position of strength became a potential weakness.

To this point it hasn't been a problem, and that's part of why Sweden will play for the gold medal Sunday against Canada at Bolshoy Ice Dome (7 a.m. ET; NBC, CBC).

"I don't feel like I have pressure from outside," Backstrom said. "I always put pressure on myself and have high expectations of myself in a tournament like this or when you go into a new NHL season. That's a similar situation. I think that is enough, to put the pressure and expectations I have for myself. Obviously we have a lot of ice time and the coaching staff believes in us, so it is something we have to take care of."

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Henrik Sedin hopes to be ready when play resumes

Saturday, 02.22.2014 / 2:38 AM / News

NHL.com

Vancouver Canucks captain Henrik Sedin participated in a full practice Friday and is optimistic he will be on the ice when the NHL season resumes.

"I was very pleased with the practice and how I felt," Sedin told the Vancouver Sun. "Everything is going the way I wanted it to go, so that's good."

Sedin, who is recovering from a rib injury, could play when the Canucks return against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday.

"Right now it feels like it's a possibility, for sure," the center said. "We'll take it day by day. Like I said, I felt good today with my shooting, skating and some contact, so it was very positive."

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Price answers numerous questions in win against U.S.

Friday, 02.21.2014 / 5:19 PM / 2014 Olympics

Arpon Basu - Managing Editor LNH.com

SOCHI -- Carey Price had never played in a game of this magnitude in his life. Not even close.

Perhaps the gold-medal game of the 2007 IIHF World Junior Championship would rank up there. But as a professional, the closest the Montreal Canadiens goaltender has come to playing a game anywhere near as important as the 2014 Sochi Olympics semifinal were two Game 7s (against the Boston Bruins in 2008 and 2011) in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Price finally found himself on that rather enormous stage Friday against the United States, the same country he beat for the World Junior gold medal in 2007. And he looked as though he was made for the moment.

Price made 31 saves to backstop a 1-0 Canada win, fighting through traffic and screens to keep some early U.S. chances from going in and remaining sharp the rest of the way as his teammates began to carry the play for longer stretches.

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Quote of the Day

It was the look in his eyes. Hockey is the most important thing in his life. He wants to be a hockey player, and nothing's going to stop him from being a hockey player.

— Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin on forward Alex Galchenyuk's potential