Talking Points: Sweden 1, Switzerland 0

Talking Points: Sweden 1, Switzerland 0
February 14, 2014, 10:15 am
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Sweden beat Switzerland, 1-0, on Friday in Sochi as the Swedes move to 2-0 in Group C and put themselves in a great position to move into the quarterfinals. Here are Joe Haggerty's Talking Points.

Henrik Lundqvist was forced into making 13 saves in the first period as Sweden got stormed by Switzerland right out of the starting gate, and King Henrik was up to the task. Even though the Swiss didn’t get as many shots in the final two periods, they were still getting quality scoring chances against a soft-ish Swedish defense. He ended up with 26 stops in his third career Olympic shutout win, and made his best step on a Kevin Romy redirection of a Mark Streit shot that he needed to double-check to make sure it didn’t squirt through his pads. The Swedes don’t win Thursday’s game unless Lundqvist brought his “A” game to Sochi with him.

BLACK EYE: Though one could give it to the officials that seemed to be taking a blind eye to some Swedish infractions in a game where Switzerland earned a few more power plays, instead we’ll go with Damien Brunner. The New Jersey Devils forward is one of the most skilled forwards on a surprisingly good Swiss roster, but finished with only a single shot on net in 16:19 of ice time. Fellow Swiss forward Roman Wick was the most dangerous player on the ice for either team throughout the game, and really overshadowed both NHL guys in Brunner and Nino Niederreiter. The Swiss would be deadly if they had a goal-scorer that could hang with the big boys.

TURNING POINT: The Swedes weathered the storm early when Switzerland crashed the party with a dominant first period attacking with speed and aggressiveness, and outshot Sweden by a 13-5 margin. But they couldn’t push any pucks past Henrik Lundqvist, and that was the difference in the game. Sure, the Swiss were still in the game later on, but their chances of winning shrunk as the Swedish depth started to control the game. It was only a matter of time until the Swedes got their game-winner out of Daniel Alfredsson in the third period.

HONORABLE MENTION: The old warrior Daniel Alfredsson is no longer a dominant figure on the Swedish roster, but somebody needed to step up with team captain Henrik Zetterberg lost for the rest of the tournament. That was old man Alfie in the third period when he hustled up the ice, and was in the right spot when a Reto Berra rebound of an Erik Karlsson shot popped to him in the crease. Alfredsson tucked it past Berra midway through the third period, and that was it for Sweden and Switzerland in a tight, taut entertaining Olympic hockey game. Alfredsson finished with three shots on net in 12:16 of ice time, and showed he still has plenty left in the tank.

BY THE NUMBERS: -- 6 – the number of shots on net for Swede Alex Steen, who led all players and was buzzing around at both ends of the ice throughout the intense game. As far as Bruins go, Loui Eriksson was quiet with one shot on net. But he did finish third among all Swedish players with 21:10 of ice time, and was out for Team Sweden in all their key situations.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “Coach [Par Marts] told us they were going to be a much sterner test than the Czechs were, and we were caught off guard anyway. They really took it to us in the first 10 minutes, but I thought second and third period we started playing our game and they fatigued a little bit.” –Daniel Alfredsson to Pierre McGuire of NBCSN following the 1-0 win over Sweden.