The New York Rangers’ beloved goalie, Henrik Lundqvist, led Team Sweden onto the ice against Kari Lehtonen and the rest of Team Finland. The two biggest rivals in Europe in a dog fight for a shot at a guaranteed medal; the loser, a fight for bronze.
Both teams came out moving fast and looking strong on the puck. Alexander Steen gave Finland the first of the three power plays in the period at the 3:26. The Swedes fought hard to kill the penalty and returned to even strength without harm showing on the scoreboard. Both goal tenders worked hard to keep from giving up the first goal and then, at 12:53, Patrick Berglund of Sweden went to the box for roughing. A mere 25 seconds into the penalty, Niklas Kronwall gave Finland a five on three chance to score when he was sent to the “sin bin” for interference. Sweden fought hard and killed off both penalties to keep the game scoreless. The first period came to a close with Sweden out shooting the Finns 13-10.
Both teams returned to the ice looking for the back of the net. With a very questionable call, from an official who was not the closest to the play, Mikael Granlund was sent to the penalty box for charging at 3:54 in the period. A replay showed Granlund coasting into a very clean check. Finland’s penalty kill was up to the task as they kept the game scoreless. It took Finland 23 seconds after returning to even strength to find the back of the net. Olli Jokinen squeaked the puck past Lundqvist. The defense pinched up which negated what would have been an icing call but the Swedish forwards visibly eased up on the play. After a review the goal was determined a good goal because the puck crossed the goal line before the whistle blew, as is the Olympic rule; intent to blow the whistle is an NHL only rule. Visibly frustrated, the Swedes changed their game and started getting aggressive. Daniel Alfredsson found himself sitting after being called for cross-checking at 7:50 in the period. Loui Anderson tied the game at 11:39 as he got the puck past Lehtonen. At 16:36 Erik Karlsson scored the go ahead goal for Sweden during an Olli Jokinen penalty for tripping. The penalty at 14:39, was another call that was questionable as Sami Vatanen added a little embellishment to his fall. As frustrations began to increase, the pushing and shoving started to show and the period ended with the Finns being out shot by the Swedes nine to eight.
This period was slow. Daniel Sedin took a holding penalty in the first minute of the period and that was the only real stoppage in play other than the time out Finland used just before the nine minute mark of the game. Finland looked tired and slow. They weren’t able to keep up with the Swedes and the Swedes were looking only to hold on to their lead. Finland kept pressure on Lundqvist late, which resulted in Lehtonen staying on the ice until just under one minute remaining. The extra attacker didn’t have enough time to force overtime as the puck managed to get out of the zone, and narrowly miss the open net. Finland did out shoot Sweden eight to three but they weren’t able to get another goal to force overtime.
Team Sweden is guaranteed a goal, they are just waiting to see if it’s gold or Silver. Team Finland moves on to the bronze medal game.