STOCKHOLM – Canada scored once in the first and twice in the second en route to an impressive 3-0 win over Sweden tonight at the Globe Arena. With the win, Canada moves into second place of the Stockholm group with 10 points, one behind Switzerland and one ahead of the Swedes.
Video: Highlights, Post-Game Interviews
Mike Smith stopped 33 shots to record the shutout in only his second ever World Championship game.
Canada (3-0-1-0) gets right back at it, playing Belarus tomorrow night, while Tre Kronor (3-0-0-2) have a day off before playing Slovenia.
"The fans were buzzing form the start and it's always kind of fun to play in that kind of atmosphere," said Brenden Dillon. "They have a passion for their country and their team, and we knew coming in it was going to be loud with the tournament being here in Sweden."
Steve Yzerman arrived into Stockholm today just in time to watch the KidCan Line of Jordan Eberle (22 years old), Matt Duchene (22), and Taylor Hall (21) put on an impressive display of puck wizardry. All three are strong Sochi candidates if the NHL goes to the Olympics and Yzerman is named Canada’s executive director (both are strong possibilities at this stage).
The trio controlled the puck inside the Swedish end much of the night and have formed Canada's most impressive line to date. The goals, however, came from Steven Stamkos, Luke Schenn, and Jordan Staal.
If you want to know why Stamkos is so good and how he scores most of his goals, just watch the replays of Canada’s first goal. On the power play, defenceman Brian Campbell had the puck at the top of the right face-off circle.
He fired a cross-ice pass to Stamkos in the same spot on the other side, and a split second after the puck hit his stick the disc was coming out of the net, already having beaten Jhonas Enroth. That goal, at 8:56, gave Canada the early lead.
"We started quickly," said Matt Read, who had two assists. "The first power-play goal may have deflated the team, and we used the next couple of shifts after that as momentum and supported each other throughout the game."
Indeed, the rest of the period saw tremendous action and pace, but Canada had a decided edge in great scoring chances. Taylor Hall sent Matt Duchene in alone with a beautiful pass outside the Sweden blue line, but Enroth made the save. A short time later, Stamkos nearly finished a perfect three-way passing play but Enroth made a sensational glove save off a sure goal.
Near the end of the period, captain Eric Staal also had a breakaway, only to be foiled by the Swedish goalie.
Smith looked a little nervous in the Canada goal in the early going, but he made a nice save on Martin Thörnberg and later on Calle Järnkrok to help settle the nerves.
"They came out with more energy than we did and they outworked us," said Erik Gustafsson. "That is really where we lost the game, especially in the first period. We tried to recover from that start but couldn't."
If Canada had the better scoring chances in the first, it dominated even more thoroughly in the second period, a period that was nothing short of a disaster for the Swedes who made countless turnovers and sloppy plays and allowed many odd-man rushes by the Canadians.
Canada took charge just 55 seconds into the period when Schenn took a pass from Read, waited half a beat, and then roofed a shot over Enroth’s glove. It was a goalscorer's shot from a defenceman who rarely scores.
Canada made it 3-0 at 11:00 when Jordan Staal came out of the penalty box to create a two-on-one with Ryan O’Reilly. O’Reilly made a perfect pass, and Staal ripped a shot into the open side. Coach Pär Mårts called a timeout, but it had little effect. The Swedes hardly tested Smith and failed to control the puck anywhere on the ice.
The Swedes had a great chance to get back into the game with an early power play in the final period, but Martin Thörnberg blasted a shot high over an open net and the moment was lost.
The rest of the period was controlled by Canada who kept the Swedes to the outside with great efficiency.