Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist
was given the opportunity to enjoy a breather on Friday afternoon at the Olympics in Vancouver.
Although Lundqvist's Swedish team was facing Belarus, Swedish coach Bengt Gustafsson chose to rest Lundqvist in preparation for Sunday's game against Finland -- the team Lundqvist and Sweden beat for the 2006 Olympic gold medal.
Lundqvist's day off didn't hurt the Swedes, who beat Belarus 4-2 behind two goals from Daniel Alfredsson. Swedish goaltender Jonas Gustavsson made 17 saves as the Swedes outshot Belarus by a wide 38-19 margin.
After taking a 3-0 lead midway through the second period, the Swedes saw Belarus cut it to 3-2 in the third period, but that was as close as winless Belarus would come. Alfredsson iced the game with his second goal at 19:49 of the third.
With Lundqvist not in uniform for the Friday Group C round-robin game against Belarus, the Swedes started Gustavsson, an NHL rookie this season with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Backing up Gustavsson was Stefan Liv, who plays for Jonkoping in the Swedish elite league.
Lundqvist will be back in goal on Sunday when the Swedes face the Finns in the final round-robin game on Sunday at midnight ET. That game is expected to decide the group championship heading into the quarterfinal round.
With Lundqvist out of the lineup on Friday, the only other Rangers player on the schedule is Olli Jokinen, who will skate for Finland against Germany at midnight ET. Jokinen has a goal in one tournament game so far.
For more on the Swedish-Finnish rivaly, see this video
in which Lundqvist and Jokinen discuss the 2006 gold-medal game.