The matchup for the Gold Medal game has been set. It is the overall number 1 seed in Sweden versus the defending Olympic Champion Canada. Sweden defeated Finland 2-1 in the Semifinal game.
Sweden arguably the second deepest team in this Olympic tournament, was one of the favorites to reach the Gold medal game. Sweden is winning games without their two World class centers in Henrik Zetterberg and Daniel Sedin, despite those losses Sweden is still very talented. Their roster includes Alex Steen, Loui Eriksson, Daniel Alfredsson, and others. The Swedes also have three important Blackhawks role players in Marcus Kruger, Daniel Oduya, and Niklas Hjalmarsson. There importance to Team Sweden was shown to the World during the Finland game. Sweden was on the penalty kill and only had three men on the ice. Kruger, Oduya, and Hjalmarrson were the three players on ice and killed off the penalty. In my opinion Sweden also has the best goalie in this tournament in Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist has been playing at a very high level during this tournament and could be the difference in the gold medal game.
Sweden’s opponent will be Canada. Canada has the greatest collection of talent ever assembled, however, in the minds of many Canada has not hit their peak yet. Canada has not had a game with an offensive explosion yet. Canada barely defeated the USA 1-0. Their lone goal was not scored by Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf, Matt Duchene, or Corey Perry; it was scored by Jamie Benn. Canada has been winning games 1-0 or 2-1 but the key is they have been winning games. Canada has gotten back to the Gold medal game for the second straight Olympics. Carey Price has been one of big reasons that Canada has been winning games 2-1. While the Canadian offense has been “struggling”, Price has been rock solid. Canada will be entering the Gold Medal game coming off of an emotional victory over their little hockey brother to the South in Team USA. The Canadians like the Swedes boast three Blackhawks players in Jonathon Toews, Patrick Sharp, and Duncan Keith. All three are playing key roles on the Blackhawks and Team Canada.
Sweden could be the country that is emerging to be Canada’s rival in international hockey. With USA not being able to get over the hump and Russia fading away, it makes that Sweden can challenge Canada for International dominance. This game will boast three Olympic champions as Canada looks to repeat while Sweden looks to win their second gold in three tries.
Canada will take on Sweden at 7:00am et on Sunday on NBC.