By Matt Calamia
Henrik Lundqvist continued his sensational play for Team Sweden making 20 saves in Sweden’s 5-3 win over Latvia Saturday to complete the sweep of Group C.
With the win, Sweden receives a bye into the quarterfinal round next week.
Lundqvist was steady again in net for Sweden. While his shutout streak was snapped in the first period, The King saw pucks well and did not allow many rebounds. His shutout streak ended at 98:47, dating back to the second period of Wednesday’s game against the Czech Republic.
Rangers winger Carl Hagelin finished with no shots in 3:46 of ice time.
The game was won by Sweden thanks to their power play, which went four-for-five against Latvia.
The first tally came with 4:10 remaining in the opening period when Patrik Bergland deflected a shot from the point from Erik Karlsson past Kristers Gudlevskis give Sweden a 1-0 lead.
Latvia, though, answered less than three minutes later when Lauris Darzins broke in on Lundqvist, deked and slid the puck between Lundqvist’s left pad and the post to tie the game, 1-1.
Latvia controlled the play early in the second period and scored a power play goal when Janis Sprukts deflected a pass from the slot and over Lundqvist’s glove.
The momentum shifted back to Sweden when just over a minute later, Karlsson blasted a shot past Gudlevskis to tie the game, 2-2. Sweden took the lead 3:26 left when Daniel Alfredsson scored another power play goal to make it 3-2.
Sweden capped off their three-goal second period when Jimmie Ericsson — the only non-NHL player on the roster — put home a loose puck that banged off the end-boards.
Lundqvist made several early saves in the third period, but Latvia cut the lead to one on the power play 1:28 into the final stanza. Lundqvist made a left-pad save, but Zemgus Girgensons put a rebound home to make it 4-3.
That was as close as Lundqvist and Sweden would allow Latvia to get.
Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler scored Sweden’s first and only goal at even strength with 7:40 remaining when he fired a wrist shot past Gudlevskis from the faceoff circle to extend Sweden’s lead, 5-3.