With Henrik Zetterberg’s Olympic dream over due to a long-standing back injury, his team banned together and beat Latvia today, 5-3.
Sweden found the back of the net first in the contest, on the power play, when Patrik Berglund put a puck behind Latvia goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis, assisted by Erik Karlsson and Alex Steen. Although Latvia could only muster five shots on goal in the first period but would answer one minute and twelve seconds before the first period ended with a goal from Lauris Darzins.
The second period became a battle of second teams as both Latvia and Sweden capitalized on their respective man advantages. Latvia took a 2-1 lead minutes into the second period when Janis Sprukts beat Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist while Niklas Kronwall in the box for tripping. Sprukts’ stick tipped a shot from the point, which went high behind Lundqvist’s shoulder.
Sweden, though, would capitalize on three power play opportunities in the second period to make the score 4-2 after two. Erik Karlsson, Daniel Alfredsson and Jimmie Ericsson each put a puck behind Gudlevskis. Latvia out-shot Sweden 9-5 in the second period.
Latvia would make it a one-goal hockey game a minute and a half into the third period when Zemgus Girgensons put a puck behind Lundqvist on the man advantage. Sweden would extend their lead, though, with an even-strength goal (only the second in the game) from Alexander Edler to make the score 5-3.
Though Sweden squeaked out the win, the numbers drop Lundqvist’s save percentage in the Olympics so far down to .935%. Latvia has remained winless in round robin play. Sweden will move on to the qualification round, which will begin Tuesday.