By Matt Calamia
It took 52:39 for the heavily-favorited Team Sweden to break through against Retto Berra and Team Switzerland Friday, and that was all Henrik Lundqvist needed.
With the game scoreless through two and a half periods, longtime Swedish mainstay Daniel Alfredsson buried a loose puck inside the crease to give Sweden the 1-0 lead that Lundqvist helped maintain the rest of the way in the second win of his country's two preliminary-round games.
Although Alfredsson will be remembered as the lone goal scorer, the star of the game was Lundqvist, who was superb making 26 saves for his third shutout of his Olympic career.
Switzerland came out flying against Sweden and Lundqvist, peppering No. 30 with 13 shots in the opening stanza. Lundqvist’s best save of the period — and possibly the game — came when Lundqvist turned aside a low wrist shot with his right pad that he earmarked for the goal, allowing Sweden to escape the first period, tied 0-0.
While he only faced seven shots in the second period, Lundqvist came up big again, this time against Roman Wick on a breakaway to keep the game scoreless.
The pressure for Lundqvist continued in the final 20 minutes thanks to an early third period power play for Switzerland. Kevin Romy skated through the slot and deflected a point shot from about four feet outside the crease, which Lundqvist gobbled up.
In the end, Lundqvist’s play kept Sweden afloat long enough for Alfredsson to bury the loose puck after Berra — who started the game rather than Jonas Hiller — had trouble with a point shot from Erik Karlsson.
Rangers forward Carl Hagelin had another strong game in a limited role on the team’s fourth line, and nearly scored with 1:22 left and he picked up a loose puck in the slot, but Berra turned the shot aside. Hagelin finished with four shots in 9:40, including time on the Swedish penalty kill.
Sweden (2-0) will face Latvia tomorrow at 12 pm EST in their final game of the preliminary round.