Erik Karlsson helped ensure Sweden will be among the elite eight at the 2012 IIHF world hockey championship.
The Senators defenceman notched his third goal of the tournament Saturday as the Tre Kronor blanked Italy 4-0 at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. With the result, Sweden clinched a berth in the quarter-final round at the worlds, which is set for Thursday.
If the Swedes (5-1-0) maintain their current second-place standing in Group S (Stockholm), they'll play that quarter-final at the Globe. The four matchups that day are split between the Swedish capital and Helsinki, with the Finnish city playing host to the semifinals next Saturday and the medal games the following day.
Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, who's also wearing the 'C' for his homeland, and Karlsson drew assists on a goal by Marcus Kruger of the Chicago Blackhawks at the 5:13 mark of the opening period. Stefan Kronwall of the Detroit Red Wings doubled the margin with 48 seconds left in the opening frame.
Karlsson found the back of the net on the power play at the 5:45 mark of the second, with Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche rounding out the scoring in the final period. Viktor Fasth earned the shutout for Sweden, which held a wide 42-19 edge in shots on goal.
It was the kind of result the Swedes needed after falling to Russia 7-3 on Friday.
Also Saturday, Senators prospect Stephane Da Costa scored the insurance goal in the third period as France stunned Switzerland 4-2 in the biggest upset yet at these worlds. For the French, the victory at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki was their first over the Swiss on any occasion in 12 years.
Meanwhile, Canada (5-0-1) continued to set the pace in Group H (Helsinki) by routing Kazakhstan 8-0 in Helsinki to clinch a quarter-final berth. Senators forward Kaspars Daugavins and Latvia saw their playoff-round chances take a big hit in a 3-0 loss to Norway, which moved past the Latvians into fourth spot in Group S.
Russia continued its winning ways at the 2012 worlds by blanking the Czech Republic 2-0 on Sunday in Stockholm. The Russians (6-0-0) continue to lead Group S, while the Czechs — whose roster includes Milan Michalek of the Senators — stand third (3-2-1).
In games Monday involving Senators players, Da Costa and France face off against Belarus in Helsinki (9:15 a.m. ET), while Daugavins and Latvia take on Denmark in Stockholm (10:15 a.m. ET).