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Sweden Powers Past Arch Rival

by Staff NHL.COM / San Jose Sharks
Tremendous work by its special teams and a solid effort in goal from Henrik Lundqvist carried Sweden to another big win over Finland in international play.

Lundqvist notched his second consecutive shutout and Loui Eriksson scored a pair of power-play goals as Sweden took the final game of Rivalry Sunday by a 3-0 score and won Group C of the Olympic men's hockey tournament in the process.

Nicklas Backstrom also scored for Sweden (3-0-0-0, 9 pts.), which earned an automatic berth into the quarterfinal round. The Swedes will be the second seed, behind only Team USA, which also earned all nine possible points but had a better goal differential.

Finland (2-0-0-1, 6 pts.), despite finishing second in Group C, still earned the fourth bye into the quarterfinals by virtue of having a better goal differential than the Czech Republic, which finished second in Group B and also had 6 points.

Sweden outshot Finland 16-5 in the first period and opened the scoring while enjoying a 5-on-3 manpower advantage following penalties to Kimmo Timonen and Joni Pitkanen 1:09 apart.

Eriksson capitalized with 17 seconds remaining on the first penalty, beating Miikka Kiprusoff from the doorstep at the 6:41 mark.

Backstrom, who drew the primary assist on the goal, made it 2-0 when he ripped a shot over Kiprusoff's left shoulder 4:19 into the second. Finnish defenseman Lasse Kukkonen fell in his own zone and lost control of the puck to Daniel Sedin, who sent Backstrom up for a one-timer.

After Eriksson's power-play goal, Sweden took the next five minor penalties, including giving Finland a pair of 5-on-3 advantages midway through the second. The first occurred after Detroit Red Wings teammates Nicklas Lidstrom and Johan Franzen each went to the box. Sweden killed that 32-second, two-man advantage for the Finns, but promptly gave them another one for 1:07 when Mattias Ohlund was sent off for interference.

Lundqvist and the Swedish penalty kill repeatedly stymied the Finns, however, with the goalie making a key save on Sami Salo's point shot just as the first 5-on-3 was expiring. Lundqvist also stopped Teemu Selanne from in close with six seconds remaining in the second two-man advantage.

Finland finished 0-for-7 on the power play.

Finland's Sami Lepisto took a tripping penalty late in the second and Eriksson made it 3-0 with 1:52 left in the second, with Franzen and Backstrom picking up the assists.

Shortly after that, Sweden forward Patric Hornqvist had to be helped to the bench after a jarring hit from Pitkanen, who appeared to get an elbow up to the head area of Hornqvist. Pitkanen received a five-minute major and game misconduct.

The extended power play gave Sweden a chance to add on, as it needed to win by six goals in order to have a better goal differential than the U.S. and secure the top seed in the quarterfinals, but Kiprusoff made several big stops early in the third to prevent a blowout.



SWE 1 2 0 - 3
FIN 0 0 0 - 0

First Period

1. SWE, Eriksson (Backstrom, Johansson) 6:41 (PPG)

Penalties - H. Sedin SWE (tripping) 0:31, Timonen FIN (interference) 4:58, Pitkanen FIN (tripping) 6:07, S. Koivu FIN (hooking) 16:23, Hornqvist SWE (tripping) 19:01.

Second Period

2. SWE, Backstrom (D. Sedin) 4:19

3. SWE, Eriksson (Franzen, Backstrom) 18:08 (PPG)

Penalties - Forsberg SWE (holding) 5:37, Lidstrom SWE (tripping) 11:14, Franzen SWE (tripping) 12:42, Ohlund SWE (interference) 13:36, Lepisto FIN (tripping) 16:25, Pitkanen FIN (checking to the head and neck area, misconduct, game misconduct) 19:11.

Third Period

Penalties - Tallinder SWE (cross-checking) 13:26.

SWE 16 8 8 - 32
FIN 5 10 5 - 20

Goaltenders (goals-shots against) - SWE: Lundqvist (W, 0-20); FIN: Kiprusoff (L, 3-32).

Power plays (goals-chances) - SWE: 2-5; FIN: 0-7.

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