Hockey is a game of mistakes, but it is also a game of inches. For Team Sweden their first experience with that game of inches was the excellent chance that Gustav Nyquist (Detroit Red Wings) had. His shot rang off the post, got in behind Carey Price (Montreal Canadiens) and was getting very close to the goal line when Price managed to glove it; preventing it from crossing the line.
Canada’s first experience with the game of mistakes came when Erik Karlsson (Ottawa Senators) got a great opportunity to shoot the puck coming off of a bad line change. Fortunately for Canada, their starting goalie was again up to the challenge, as Price stopped Karlsson’s shot.
The first period continued in a fast pace, with hard forechecking coming from the Canadians. It was clear that Team Canada intended to have no regrets at the end of the game, except perhaps an occasional experience themselves with a game of inches. The Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron‘s ricochet off the post must have felt a little frustrating to him during that first period, with just 8:49 left on the clock.
Team Sweden’s goalie, the New York Rangers Henrik Lundqvist, is one of the best goalies in the sport, However, he prefers to have a little space in his crease to work his magic. The international rules that prevent players from even entering the blue paint works in his favor. However, the Canadians made sure that there were plenty of red shirts as close to Lundqvist as possible. And such was the case as Canada went on the score board first,
At the end of a truly long shift, assistant captain Jonathan Toews (Chicago Blackhawks) considered going off for a change, but instead decided to circle back and camp out in front of Lundqvist. As he did so, he ended up in the perfect position to receive a pass from Jeff Carter (Los Angeles Kings) that he got past the Swedish goalie. The goal was also assisted by Shea Weber (Nashville Predators).
As the first period continued, Marc-Edouard Vlasic (San Jose Sharks) fanned on a shot, and Sweden’s Carl Hagelin (New York Rangers) was right there to take advantage of the opportunity. It’s too bad for Hagelin that Price seemed more than a little determined in not allowing the Swedes any scoring chances.
During the second period, Sweden would receive a gift in the form of an early whistle. At 4:27, a shot on goal that had ricocheted between Lundqvist’s pads, was not actually stuck in his pads, but instead had squirted out behind and as such was technically still in play. However, the referee assumed that the play was dead and blew his whistle.
Team Canada would take advantage of a bad pinch by Jonathan Ericsson (Detroit Red Wings) that allowed a number of turnovers and a shot on net, which fortunately for Sweden, Lundqvist was able to block. Ericsson would make another bad play with just 4:17 left in the second period that would allow Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) a breakaway opportunity that he would capitalize on, going backhand on Lundqvist and getting the puck into the net before Lundqvist could get his left pad to the post to seal off the net. This put Canada up two goals, while Sweden had yet to solve Price.
Just 40 seconds before the end of the second period, Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh Penguins) ended up being boarded by Patrik Berglund (St. Louis Blues), resulting in Kunitz going down to the ice and the trainer coming out to attend to him, as he was bleeding profusely from his nose. This meant that as the third period began, Canada would have almost one and a half minutes of power play time.
And while it was becoming pretty clear that no matter what Team Sweden attempted they weren’t going to get it past Price, At 9:04 of the third period Kunitz added a little cushion to Team Canada’s score by potting the third one of the game.
In the end, Team Canada would prove once again that their country is all about hockey. And for the second consecutive Olympics–and third time in the past four Olympics–they would stand atop the podium representing their country as the best hockey players in the world.