Sweden Ready for Tough Quarterfinals Match Versus Canada

Sweden will need to be ready as they will face Canada in the quarterfinals. Both teams come into this match having lost a game, but Canada has some momentum, having beat China twice in a row coming into the game. It will be a tough match for the Swedes with a spot in the semifinals on the line.

2022 Olympics Beijing 2022 Sweden
2022 Olympics Beijing 2022 Sweden (The Hockey Writers)

Game Time: Feb. 16, 2022 @ 5:10 AM PST/ 8:10 AM EST

Three Keys to Victory for Sweden

Sweden Needs to Score Five on Five

So far this tournament, Sweden has 10 goals, but only five were scored at even strength. Special team goals are always a key to success, but if they aren’t given power-play opportunities during the game, it could spell trouble in the quarterfinals. One way to do this is by generating more shots on goal, which has been a problem all tournament long. If Sweden can win the 5-on-5 battle and get at least two even-strength goals in the game, their special teams should be able to carry them the rest of the way and onto the semis.

Play a Full 60

Throughout the tournament, Sweden has taken their foot off the gas and allowed teams to come back in the third period. They were lucky against Slovakia and Latvia, but their strategy was exposed when they allowed three goals in the third period versus Finland and lost in overtime. Coach Johan Garpenlöv needs to find a way to motivate his players late in the game because if they continue playing defensive and not pushing play in the quarterfinals, it most likely will cost them as it did versus Finland.

More Balanced Scoring

Two former NHLers that need to get on the scoresheet are Jacob de la Rose and Marcus Krüger. Both players were expected to make an impact on the scoreboard, yet neither has registered a point. Almost all of Sweden’s offence has come from Lucas Wallmark, who has four of the team’s 10 goals. That is great for him, but if Canada is able to shut him down, no one else has shown they have the ability to score goals. Sweden needs to get scoring from their depth pieces if they want a chance to win.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Holmberg Is a Must-Watch at the Beijing Olympics

Overall, the depth scoring has been disappointing. Pontus Holmberg only has one assist, Joakim Nordström has only scored once and has one assist, and as mentioned, de la Rose and Krüger have been held off the scoresheet. Sweden has so much offensive talent, yet hasn’t been able to showcase it all tournament for some reason. If they are going to move on and contend for a medal, they need other players than Wallmark to score.

3 Canadians to Watch

Adam Tambellini

Adam Tambellini comes into this game on fire. He scored twice and added three assists versus China and currently leads the tournament with seven points. The former Calgary Hitman star isn’t afraid to shoot the puck as he has 11 shots on goal through his first four games. If Sweden gives him time and space with the puck, it’s going to be a long night for whoever is in the Swedish goal.

Kent Johnson

Kent Johnson has been fantastic for Canada this tournament. The fifth-overall pick from the 2021 Draft has been centering Canada’s third line for most of the tournament yet is second on the team with five points in his first four games. Known more for his playmaking than scoring, Sweden needs to be aware of where the young Columbus Blue Jacket prospect is at all times, otherwise, he will make them pay on the scoreboard.

Eric Staal

Captain Canada finally notched his first goal of the Olympics vs. China and has been one of Canada’s most consistent players the entire tournament. The former Stanley Cup winner has been one of the best faceoff men in the tournament, which could cause Sweden trouble if they are not on their A-game. He is the heart and soul of this Canadian team, so expect him to step up his game in vital moments.

Eric Staal
Eric Staal (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Staal will be looking for some revenge as the last time he captained Canada, they were defeated by Sweden in the 2013 World Championships. That year, Sweden went on to win the Gold while Canada finished fifth. Although this match was almost nine years ago, you can be certain he will want some revenge and to bring home the second gold medal of his career.

Recent Olympic History

  • 1994 Group Play: Canada 3 Sweden 2
  • 1994 Gold Medal Game: Sweden 3 Canada 2
  • 1998 Canada 3 Sweden 2
  • 2002 Sweden 5 Canada 2
  • 2014 Gold Medal Game: Canada 3 Sweden 0

Prediction

If Sweden can get some depth scoring, they should be able to advance to the semi-finals. The Canadian goaltending has not been great this tournament and that is something Sweden can take advantage of. Expect a close game with Sweden winning by a goal with overtime being a real possibility.


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