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Zetterberg nets game-winner over Czechs

Kronwall and Ericsson form Team Sweden's top defensive pairing

Wednesday, 02.12.2014 / 3:00 PM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Zetterberg nets game-winner over Czechs

Henrik Zetterberg reacts to his second-period goal that put Sweden up 3-0 over the Czech Republic on Wednesday. (Photo by Getty Images)

Henrik Zetterberg didn’t skip a beat transitioning from the NHL to the Olympic stage, as the Team Sweden captain scored his first goal of the 2014 Winter Games in Sweden’s 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic Wednesday.

Zetterberg’s fifth career Olympic goal came within the first minute of the second period to give Sweden a 3-0 lead and caused the Czechs to pull Jakub Kovar from goal in favor of Alexander Salak.

But the change did little to slow Sweden’s attack, as Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson scored his second goal of the game on a power play three minutes later to give the Swedes a commanding 4-0 lead.

“They’re smart players, they surprise you so many times with smart plays,” goaltender Henrik Lundqvist told NBC Sports Net’s Pierre McGuire of Sweden’s defensemen. “I don’t even see it what they do under pressure but it’s impressive. Obviously it’s important we don’t get too comfortable but just the way they solve different situations it’s just fun to watch. Obviously they have a little more space here so they can find that opening a little more often maybe.”

Karlsson’s first goal midway through the opening period was originally credited to Detroit’s Daniel Alfredsson, as the Wings’ forward screened Kovar and appeared to tip in the defenseman’s shot. But the call was reversed upon further review, and the 23-year-old earned his first career Olympic goal on a delayed penalty call.

But trailing 4-0, the Czechs rallied in the second period to score two goals in two minutes and cut Sweden’s lead in half heading into the third. That was as close as they’d get, however, as the Swedes hung on to win their first game of the preliminary tournament.

“Well after we scored the fourth one we got a little sloppy and you know Czech is a team where when you lose the puck in the wrong area they’re really quick to strike,” said Lundqvist, who made 27 saves in the victory. “I thought we regrouped a little bit in the third but then they came hard, they took chances and that’s what they do when they’re behind a couple goals but overall a really strong game for us and especially special teams really stepped up tonight.”

While Zetterberg skated on Sweden’s first line with Blues forward Alexander Steen and Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson picked up right where they left off with the Wings to form Tre Kronor’s top defensive pairing. Detroit forwards Gustav Nyquist and Alfredsson paired up with Blues forward Patrik Berglund, who also recorded a goal in the win, to complete Team Sweden’s third line.

Kronwall and Zetterberg were the only Wings players to record points in the victory, as the defenseman assisted on his NHL and Olympic captain’s game-winning goal.

Sweden will be back in action for its second group matchup Friday against Switzerland at 7:30 a.m. on NBC Sports Net.

Follow Andrea Nelson on Twitter @Nelson_Andrea

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59