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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."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 54 40 10 4 178 124 84
2 FLA 56 32 18 6 153 132 70
3 NYR 55 31 18 6 157 140 68
4 DET 56 29 18 9 138 134 67
5 BOS 56 30 20 6 163 150 66
6 NJD 57 29 21 7 125 124 65
7 TBL 54 30 20 4 144 130 64
8 NYI 54 29 19 6 153 137 64
9 PIT 54 28 19 7 139 136 63
10 CAR 56 25 21 10 137 146 60
11 PHI 54 24 20 10 128 140 58
12 MTL 56 27 25 4 151 151 58
13 OTT 57 25 26 6 159 177 56
14 BUF 57 23 28 6 135 156 52
15 CBJ 57 23 28 6 144 175 52
16 TOR 54 20 25 9 127 151 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 54 18 20 25 38
H. Zetterberg 55 10 28 5 38
T. Tatar 54 16 17 -1 33
G. Nyquist 55 14 16 -1 30
P. Datsyuk 40 9 21 14 30
J. Abdelkader 55 14 15 -2 29
M. Green 47 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 41 5 11 6 16
D. DeKeyser 51 7 8 12 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 5 .933 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89