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Olympic Hockey: Sweden, Switzerland Win on Day One

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Sweden and Switzerland were the winners as play began Wednesday in Men’s Olympic Hockey at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson scored two goals to lead Sweden to a 4-2 victory over Czech Republic in Group C. Patrik Berglund and Henrik Zetterberg also scored for the Swedes. Sweden took control of the game midway through the first when Karlsson and Berglund scored goals three minutes apart. Zetterberg and Karlsson scored early in the second to extend the lead to 4-0. New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 of 29 shots for Sweden. Marek Zidlicky and Jaromir Jagr scored for the Czechs.

In Wednesday’s other game, Simon Moser scored with 7.9 seconds left in regulation to break a scoreless tie and lift Switzerland to a 1-0 victory over Latvia in Group C. Moser’s centering pass from behind the goal line was deflected into the net off a Latvian defender. Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller stopped all 21 shots he faced to earn the shutout for Switzerland. Edgars Masalskis was superb in net for Latvia, stopping 38 of 39 shots.

The rest of the tournament field begins play on Thursday.

Stars Notes

*Stars captain Jamie Benn and Canada will begin play at the Olympics on Thursday when they take on Norway in the tournament opener for both teams. Benn is expected to play left wing on Canada’s fourth line with New York Islanders’ captain John Tavares at center and Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on the right wing. Benn will see a different role than he sees in Dallas, and he is fine with that.

“I think I’m going to see a lot more of a PK role, checking line,” Benn told NBC Sports. “I’ll do whatever it takes to win.”

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is expected to be the backup for Finland when it takes on Austria in its opening game of the tournament on Thursday. Boston’s Tuukka Rask will start in goal for the Finns.

*Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin will be a healthy scratch for Russia Thursday when it plays its first game of the tournament against Slovenia. Nichushkin hasn’t been skating on a line in Russia’s practices in Sochi.

“We are likely to play the first game with the lines that we trained with today,” Russian coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov told RSport. “We plan that [Alexander] Svitov and Nichushkin won’t play.”

Wednesday’s results

Sweden 4, Czech Republic 2
Switzerland 1, Latvia 0

Thursday’s games

Finland vs. Austria, 2:00 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Russia vs. Slovenia, 6:30 a.m., MSNBC
Slovakia vs. United States, 6:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Canada vs. Norway, 11:00 a.m., USA Network

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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