By Matt Calamia
Henrik Lundqvist and Team Sweden got off on the right foot on the opening day of the men’s hockey tournament in Sochi, Russia, with a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic.
Lundqvist made 27 saves, including 15 in the third period, in the victory.
Team Sweden will next face-off against Switzerland on Friday at 7:30 am EST. Switzerland today defeated Latvia, 1-0.
The King was stellar in net for Sweden, with his only two blemishes coming in a span of under two minutes midway through the second period.
Sweden opened the scoring at 10:07 of the first period on a blast from the point by Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, and doubled the score just 3:10 later when Patrik Berglund beat Jakub Kovar to make it 2-0. Lundqvist picked up an assist on the tally.
The dominance continued for Sweden just 51 seconds into the second period, when Henrik Zetterberg picked up a puck from behind the net, circled to the face-off dot and fired a wrist-shot past Kovar, who was pulled immediately after in favor of Alexander Salak.
The change did little to sway momentum, as Karlsson scored his second of the game on the first shot sent Salak’s way, which made it 4-0.
Czech defender Marek Zidlicky got his country on the board with a slap shot that beat Lundqvist high to make it 4-1 8:12 into the middle period.
Jaromir Jagr followed soon after on a controversial goal. Lundqvist appeared to be interfered with but the play continued and a slow Jagr shot from the side of the net found the back of the cage to bring the Czech Republic to within two.
But that was as close as they would get, as Lundqvist shut the door in the third period, making 15 saves in the final stanza.
Rangers winger Carl Hagelin was held off the scoresheet, skating alongside Jimmei Ericsson and Marcus Kruger. He finished with two shots on goal in 12:25 of ice time.