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Karlsson-Lundqvist collision was scary

Monday, 02.17.2014 / 7:32 AM ET / News
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Karlsson-Lundqvist collision was scary

SOCHI -- Sweden has had more than its fair share of high-profile injury issues thus far at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and it came close to yet another one Monday.

This one would have been the worst one yet.

After losing Red Wings forward Johan Franzen and Vancouver Canucks center Henrik Sedin prior to and then captain Henrik Zetterberg of the Red Wings one game into the Olympics, Sweden goalie Henrik Lundqvist was crashed into by Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson during practice Monday.

Karlsson was trying to catch Boston Bruins forward Loui Eriksson as he was breaking toward the net and dove, his momentum carrying him into Lundqvist and taking the New York Rangers goalie out like he was a bowling pin.

Lundqvist needed a few minutes to recover, but ultimately was alright and should be in net for Sweden's quarterfinal game on Wednesday.

"I toe-picked and dived without really thinking about what happened," Karlsson said. "But it should be fine. I think it looked a bit worse than it was. Luckily, I'm not that heavy.

"I told him I was sorry, about 500 times.''

The thought of losing their star goaltender crossed the players' minds as Lundqvist lay on the ice afterward.

"We can laugh about it because it wasn't too serious," Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson said. "But it gave everybody a big scare."

Sweden enters the knockout phase of the tournament as the top seed, the only team to win all three of its preliminary round games in regulation. Yet the Swedes, much like fellow gold medal candidates Canada and Russia, had their issues in group play.

Sweden was up 4-0 in its opening game against the Czech Republic, but then laid back and allowed the Czechs back in it before winning 4-2. Sweden then won 1-0 against Switzerland, the only goal the Swiss have allowed in the tournament.

In Sweden's final preliminary game Saturday, Latvia had a clean breakaway down 4-3 midway through the third period. Lundqvist was forced to make a great save on Martins Karsums, and about a minute later Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler scored to give Sweden some breathing room in a 5-3 win.

In all three cases, Sweden allowed a lesser team to hang around, something that could be deadly in an elimination game.

As the top seed, Sweden will face the winner of the Slovenia-Austria qualification round game, which should provide a relatively easy path to the semifinals.

But Alfredsson was on the Swedish team that lost to Belarus in the quarterfinals at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, so he knows better than most not to take any team lightly when your tournament life is on the line.

And in a way, the so-called trouble Sweden had in the preliminary round should prepare it for that reality in the quarterfinals.

"I don't think I need to tell them anything about that after the group games we've had," Alfredsson said. "We are going to be the favorites, no doubt about that, so it's just about balancing our energy the right way.

"We can't focus on what we have to lose, but on what we can win."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

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
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80