The Gold Medal game. Canada vs Sweden. Could Canada be the first country to win back to back Gold medals? Could they do it while tired and sleepy Canadians arose somewhere between 4am and 7am to watch the game? Yes. Yes they could.
There is no good and bad. EVERYTHING was good in this game.
• Sweden was without Nicklas Backstrom, Henrik Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin, their top 3 centers. Hard to battle against the likes of Crosby, Toews, Getzlaf and Bergeron without them. It was kind of disappointing not to see healthy Canada vs healthy Sweden
• Sweden set up their cycle early and often. Their entire offensive zone strategy was to dump it into the corner and cycle on the Canadians. It was the first time all tournament that Canada had been defensively in their own zone for longer than a minute at a time. But it didn’t last.
• After a long shift and Swedish turnover in the neutral zone, Canada struck first. Canada’s best line over this tournament, Carter-Toews-Marleau, got the opener as Jeff Carter fed Toews in front and he tipped it past Henrik Lundqvist for a 1-0 lead.
• After starting strong, outshooting Canada 6-2 five minutes in, Sweden couldn’t keep up. Canada eventually outshot them in the first period 12-11 and never looked back. They ended up with 36 shots on goal to Sweden’s 24.
• Martin St Louis got one shift and made the most of it with a great scoring chance in front. He was then promoted to the fourth line with Duchene and Nash. That line dominated the Swedish defense pair of Kronwall and Ericsson on one shift for over 90 seconds with 4 great scoring chances. Martin St Louis, a late addition to the team, was emotional after the game, and rightly so, as this was his only shot at Olympic Gold.
• All throughout the tournament, Crosby wasn’t producing as much as people thought he should, just like 2010. However, he was dominant away from the puck all tournament, and usually, when you do things well, the results will eventually follow. Crosby was an example of that in this game, as he caused a neutral zone turnover, raced down the ice and scored on an unassisted breakaway. He picks his spots, Sidney does. If all he does is score once every Gold Medal game, we’re all fine with that.
• Sweden switched their defense pairings to start the third in an attempt to generate offense. Karlsson and Kronwall took the ice together, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson got his first ice time of the game. Knowing they had no centers, Swedens game plan to start the third was to go all in, essentially, and bring their D up to make every situation an odd numbered situation. Needless to say, Canada’s defense was still too quick and skilled.
• Just to rub it in for all of us haters, Chris Kunitz scores on a rocket of a shot to make it 3-0. That’s all I’ll say about that. Canada dominated this tournament with a controversial player. Imagine if that was a healthy Stamkos…
• This game was never close, and Canada had 10 minutes to do a victory lap at the end, while the game was still on. Sweden was down 3 and had 2 shots on goal through 15 minutes of the third period. They were mentally on their flight home after the second period.
• Canada is the first country to repeat winning Gold since NHL joined the Olympics in 1998.
Ready for some STATS?! How’s this for a dominant performance:
• Shots on goal for the tournament: 241 for, 129 against
• Scoring chances were 139-47
• Canada scored 19 goals and gave up 3 (THREE!)
• number of seconds spent trailing: 0. None. Not once. Zip. Nada. Zilch.
• Carey Price’s SV% was 97.2%. That’s unreal.
You’ll never see a better hockey team and performance than the one Canada assembled for this tournament. Now, let’s all go take a nap.