STOCKHOLM – Gabriel Landeskog scored two goals and Tre Kronor played a tight defensive game in beating Norway, 5-1, before a raucous crowd at the Globe Arena.
The win gives Sweden nine points and puts the team in second place of the Stockholm group, two behind Switzerland. Norway drops to fourth place with six points.
"It's exciting, super exciting, for me to stand back there and see how hard all the boys are working," said goalie Jakob Markström. "We're skating and hitting and doing everything we said we were going to do. Obviously that gets me going to and trying to help the team to win."
Even better, the Swedes confirmed that Daniel and Henrik Sedin will be joining the team in the coming days now that the Vancouver Canucks have been swept from the NHL playoffs.
"It would be huge for our team if they come," offered Joel Lundqvist. "They can help offensively and on the power play so it would be great."
The Swedes (3-1) are right back at it tomorrow night in a highly-anticipated game against Canada while the Norwegians (2-2) don’t play again until May 11 when they face Belarus.
Much of the first period was played between the blue lines as the checking in centre ice was close both ways. But Sweden opened the scoring at 9:26 just after a Norway penalty expired. Dick Axelsson found Gabriel Landeskog in the slot, and his snap shot beat Lars Haugen to the far side after the goalie over-committed to Axelsson.
"We knew they played yesterday and might be a little tired," said Lundqvist. "It was important to get the first goal and get things going."
The Swedes made it 2-0 at 14:00 on a similar play. Loui Eriksson took a pass in the slot but this time waited patiently before wristing the puck between Haugen’s pads. It was a weak shot for the goalie to surrender and put the Norwegians in a deep hole even at this early stage of the game.
Things looked bleaker early in the second when Axelsson was hauled down by Marius Holtet on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, but Haugen came up with a fine pad save to keep the game within reach.
At the next commercial timeout, the Globe crowd erupted in wild applause as a male spectator proposed to his girlfriend, ring in hand. She said yes (or so it seemed).
Back on ice, Norway had a sensational chance with a lengthy two-man advantage but failed to beat Markström, but a short time later Niklas Persson committed a terrible giveaway outside his blue line. Holtet picked up the puck and beat Markström with a nice wrist shot over the goalie’s shoulder.
Tre Kronor broke the game open with two goals in 48 seconds early in the final period. Johan Fransson wheeled and fired a shot on goal, and it deflected off Andreas Jämtin's skate and in. Video review confirmed the goal.
Then, some nice passing gave Elias Fälth a clear shot in close and he roofed a wrister over Haugen's glove to make it 4-1.
Landeskog added an empty netter at 16:33 after Norway's coach Roy Johansen pulled Haugen early.
"That important 2-1 goal cut the lead and heading into the third we felt pretty good about ourselves and the pressure was on them," said Norway's Mats Trygg. "But they got a few goals in then it was tough. Still, I thought it was a better effort than last night against Canada [a 7-1 loss]."