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Nylander helps Sweden make history with gold

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers

Rangers center Michael Nylander had two assists in the second period on Sunday, helping Sweden beat the Czech Republic 4-0 in the World Championship tournament's gold-medal game at Riga, Latvia.

With their victory, the Swedes became the first team in international hockey history to win both the Olympic and World Championship golds in the same year. The world title came just under three months after Sweden captured Olympic gold in Torino, Italy.

Nylander was one of five NHL players on the Swedish team that completed the golden sweep on Sunday. The other four are all members of the Detroit Red Wings, and three of them - Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and former Ranger Mikael Samuelsson - also played on the Olympic team.

The Swedes wasted little time taking the lead on Sunday, as Jesper Mattsson gave Sweden a 1-0 lead at 14:36 of the opening period, and Fredrik Emvall made it 2-0 just 37 seconds later.

Nylander picked up the second assist on both of Sweden's second period goals, scored by Niklas Kronwall at 4:07 and by Jorgen Jonsson on a power play at 17:01.

The game featured a matchup of goaltenders who saw NHL action with the Rangers. Sweden's Johan Holmqvist made 15 saves for the win, while the Czechs' Milan Hnilicka finished with 22 saves.

Nylander's gold medal was his first in World Championship competition since 1992, when he was just 19 years old and had yet to play in the NHL. Since then, he had played in seven more tournaments, winning three silver medals and a pair of bronze medals. He has brought home a medal in seven of nine World Championships during his international hockey career.

Also playing in Sunday's game was Rangers prospect Martin Richter. The Czech defenseman collected a silver medal in his third trip to the World Championships.
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