Gold for Pahlsson

Sunday, 02.26.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Anaheim Ducks

TURIN, Italy (AP) - The three crowns on Sweden's hockey sweaters are said to represent three great kings. Try convincing any fan they don't stand for hockey royalty: Forsberg, Sundin and Lidstrom.

Sweden's three biggest stars came through in its biggest game, with Nicklas Lidstrom scoring the game-winning goal 10 seconds into the third period on assists by Mats Sundin and Peter Forsberg as it beat rival Finland 3-2 Sunday for the Olympic men's hockey gold medal.

"That was a great goal by three great guys," Sweden's Daniel Sedin said. "It was a good fit for it to come down to that. They've been an example to younger Swedish guys for a long time, so it's great to see them do it."

Three stars and three goals combined to make for one huge celebration in Sweden, which again established its on-ice superiority over its smaller neighbor. Finland had been unbeaten in seven Olympic games in Turin, playing near-perfect hockey, but again couldn't beat the team it wants to beat most.

"It's very disappointing. I think we played just a great tournament, so many big games, and I thought we deserve this," Finland's Olli Jokinen said.

The game winner came so quickly in the third, Finn goalie Antero Niittymaki almost didn't react. Forsberg, playing despite a severe groin injury that kept him out of the Philadelphia Flyers' last eight games, grabbed the puck off the faceoff and fed ahead to Sundin. His perfect-as-can-be drop pass to the blue line was one-timed by Lidstrom past Niittymaki.

"Mats laid it out for me. I tried to shoot high on the blocker side and I hit it perfectly," Lidstrom said.

Finland pressed for the tying goal after that, and nearly got it with 20 seconds remaining by Jokinen, who was stopped on a shot from along the left post. But New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist, made a series of big saves in outplaying fellow NHL rookie Niittymaki, who had shut out three of his previous five opponents.

"It happened so quickly. I was able to get the puck toward the back door. But he robbed me, and made a nice save," Jokinen said. "That's what winning goalies are able to do."

After they won, the Swedes celebrated behind the Finn goal and Sundin and Forsberg grabbed Swedish flags and carried them around the ice. Forsberg joyously tossed both gloves into the crowd and several Swedish players cried during the medals ceremony.

"It's our national sport, so this is the greatest," Henrik Sedin said.

Sweden's second gold medal in four Olympics - it also won on Forsberg's shootout goal against Canada in 1994 - more than made up for its dreadful loss to Belarus in the 2002 quarterfinals.

"I was much more nervous this time," Forsberg said. "I was only 20 years old, and I didn't know how hard it was going to be to get back to the Olympic final. I think I appreciate this one more."

Unlike Finland, which outscored its opponents by 27-5 while winning its first seven games, Sweden was far from perfect in Turin. It lost to Russia 5-0 and also to Slovakia, when coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson caused a major stir by suggesting his team might chose to lose to set up a more favorable quarterfinals game against Switzerland.

Sweden also won in what likely was the final Olympics appearance for its major stars. Three Swedes played on both gold medal teams - Forsberg, Kenny Jonsson and Jorgen Jonsson. And Fredrik Modin became the 17th player to win a world, Olympics and Stanley Cup championship.

"I think this generation of players, we are getting older, and this is probably our last chance, so it's great," Sundin said.

Finland and Sweden have met in three world championship finals, the last eight years ago, but this was the first time the Nordic neighbors had played each other for an Olympic gold medal. That each was trying to win against its biggest rival only increased the pressure in a game that was expected to attract record TV audiences in each country.

Sweden has been more dominant on the world stage than Finland, winning seven world titles to the Finns' one, and is 2-1 in world championship finals.

"For some reason we didn't get the best game out of us today," Finland's Saku Koivu said. "Sweden is a better team and they handled it better."

Finland, as it has consistently done throughout the tournament, scored the opening goal. This time it was on Kimmo Timonen's slap shot from the blue line that flew through traffic in front of the net and deflected off Lundqvist's skate and into the net.

But the Finns lost some of that defensive discipline while taking four consecutive penalties during one stretch of the second period.

Sweden took advantage by scoring twice, with both goals by Detroit Red Wings players: Henrik Zetterberg slightly less than five minutes into the period and Niklas Kronwall eight minutes later. Kronwall joined the team before Friday's semifinals to replace the injured Mattias Ohlund.

Finland tied it at the 15-minute mark when Jussi Jokinen threaded a beautiful backhand pass through the crease and between defenseman Lidstrom's legs directly onto Ville Peltonen's stick. But Finland couldn't put any of its 10 shots in the third period past Lundqvist, who finished with 25 saves.

"You win the bronze, you win the gold, you lose the silver," Jokinen said. "Every hockey player wants to go out with a win."

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 


AnaheimDucks.com is the official Web site of the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim Ducks and AnaheimDucks.com are trademarks of Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, LLC and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

Privacy Policy     Contact Us    Jobs     Honda Center    Corporate Partnerships   Terms of Use   Site Map AdChoices