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Alfredsson nets game-winner vs. Swiss

Zetterberg to miss Olympics with bad back; Kronwall named Sweden's captain

Friday, 02.14.2014 / 10:04 AM ET / News
By Andrea Nelson  - Editorial Assistant | DetroitRedWings.com
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Alfredsson nets game-winner vs. Swiss
Daniel Alfredsson scored the only goal in Sweden's 1-0 victory over Switzerland on Friday. The Red Wings' forward fired thre shots on goal in 15 shifts. (Photo by Getty Images)

The injury woes that have plagued the Red Wings this season have followed them to Sochi, as it was announced Friday morning that Detroit and Team Sweden captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the remainder of the Olympic ice hockey tournament due to a herniated disc.

With the loss of the star forward, Sweden named Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall its captain for the remainder of the Olympic tournament.

“Well it’s sad,” forward Daniel Alfredsson told NBC Sports Net’s Pierre McGuire about the loss of Zetterberg. “I mean I know how much he wanted to come. The battle has been on and off throughout the year but it didn’t look that bad, it felt pretty good in the first game and then obviously yesterday things took a turn for the worst.”

Zetterberg missed 11 games in December due to the injury, and was out for two games in late January when the lower back issue resurfaced. As the Olympics drew near, the forward’s status to participate in his fourth Winter Games was uncertain. But Zetterberg recorded four assists in Detroit’s final five games leading up to the break, helping the team to a 3-1-1 record, and appeared to be healthy as he traveled to Sochi.

The Olympic captain was pivotal in Sweden’s opening preliminary tournament matchup, scoring the game-winning goal in his country’s 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic. But Zetterberg missed Thursday’s practice as his back injury flared up again, and the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation announced Friday that he would miss the rest of the tournament.

Zetterberg will return to Detroit to be evaluated and will not be available when the team resumes play on Feb. 25.

Zetterberg is the second Detroit player and third member of Team Sweden to withdraw from the Olympics. Wings forward Johan Franzen announced in early February he wouldn’t participate in the 2014 Winter Games due to lingering concussion-like symptoms. Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin, who has 40 points through 52 NHL games, also missed the Olympics due to a rib injury.

The loss of Zetterberg was apparent in Sweden’s game against Switzerland Friday, as the two countries remained locked in a scoreless tie after two periods.

But with one Red Wing down, another stepped up to the challenge for Team Sweden. Participating in his fifth Olympics, 41-year-old Daniel Alfredsson scored the game-winning goal with just over seven minutes left in regulation to give Sweden a 1-0 victory over Switzerland.

“Well it was a battle in our own end and then I saw Erik (Karlsson) get it and I thought I’m going to bust my butt up the ice,” Alfredsson explained. “He gets entry, make a couple of nice moves and I just drove the net and was lucky to get a juicy rebound.”

The score marked the veteran’s 12th Olympic goal and his first of the 2014 tournament in what is likely his final appearance in the Winter Games.

Henrik Lundqvist did his part to keep Sweden in the game by making a number of acrobatic stops, as the goaltender headed a fluttering puck and made a spectacular right pad save to keep Switzerland off the scoreboard. Behind 26 saves in the shutout, Lundqvist helped Sweden remain unbeaten through its first two games.

“It’s nice for us to win the first two games here but it doesn’t mean that much,” Alfredsson said. “We’re going to have to play better and you know it’s nice for us now, we have our goaltending playing unbelievable and that’s always important in a short tournament.”

Sweden will play its final preliminary tournament game Saturday against Latvia at 12 p.m. on USA.

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 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
R. Sheahan 81 14 11 -8 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80