Tre Kronor Victorious After Avoiding Late-Game Collapse

Tre Kronor Victorious After Avoiding Late-Game Collapse

Steven Ellis13 May 2018Steven Ellis»
 

Sweden avoided a late-game scare on Sunday to defeat Switzerland 5-3, keeping them at the top of Group A at the 2018 World Hockey Championships in Denmark.

 
 
 
 

Sweden avoided a late-game scare on Sunday to defeat Switzerland 5-3, keeping them at the top of Group A at the 2018 World Hockey Championships in Denmark.

The Swiss found themselves down in an early hole that made their hopes of moving up in Group A to gain a bit of stability more challenging. At 5:24 on the power play, John Klingberg, the NHL's top-scoring defenceman this past season, made it 1-0 after completing the cycle by slapping home a pass from Mika Zibanejad, giving Sweden the 1-0 lead early.

On their next power play chance four minutes later, they scored again. This time, Patric Hornqvist, coming off of playing with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs, finished off a tremendous tic-tac-toe play between Elias Pettersson and Mikael Backlund, beating Leonardo Genoni, who was cheating back into his net, to make it 2-0 for the Swedes.

Things continued to get worse for the Swedes. At 1:14, Hampus Lindholm did a good job of keeping the puck from crossing over the goal line before finding Backlund streaking towards the net. Backlund would send a weak pass towards the net, only to have Swiss defender Michael Fora tip it through Genoni's five-hole to make it 3-0 early in the period. 

The Swiss did build a bit of confidence with a goal at 28:32 in the game. Ramon Untersander's wrister would knock Anders Nilsson's water bottle in the air for the first goal against the Vancouver Canucks netminder, putting the Swiss on the board heading into the second intermission.

That determination to get back in the game resulted in Switzerland scoring early in the third. At 4:26, Sven Andrighetto scooped the puck out of a battle along the boards and found Kevin Fiala around the net. The Nashville Predators forward would get the puck to Raphael Diaz, who skated in and waited long enough before picking a spot past Nilsson to make it 3-2.

With traffic in front of the Swiss net, the Swedes scored late in the game to regain their two-goal lead. Adam Larsson would convert on a Backlund feed after using a screen in front to keep Genoni pre-occupied, blasting a shot from the point to make it 4-2 at 52:59 in the battle. Dean Kulkan would score one in the final minute for the Swiss, but Magnus Pääjärvi would score an empty-netter late in the game, finishing off a big 5-3 victory over Switzerland despite a bad start to the third period.

The Swedes will continue their strong run in Group A with 17 points, keeping them ahead of Russia in the final two days of round-robin play. The two teams will meet for what could be the Group A title on Tuesday, a 20:15 local start. Switzerland will play Tuesday as well, taking on France as they hope to keep their quarterfinal bid alive late in the tournament.

Follow me on Twitter, @StevenEllisNHL.

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