QUEBEC CITY – Just 23 hours after their game against Switzerland, the Swedes were back on the saddle, happy to get a chance to redeem themselves. Unfortunately for Denmark, they happened to be there to take the beating, as Swedes marched to a 8-1 win.
The Swedes had been busy after their loss against Switzerland. Coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson had shuffled the lines and added Daniel Widing to the roster. Also, NHLers Douglas Murray, defenseman, and Henrik Lundqvist, goalkeeper, played their first games in the tournament.
The Swedes started strong, and took control of the game from the opening faceoff on. Today, they were aggressive, passed the puck, and made sure the Danes stayed away from the slot.
Captain Kenny Jonsson showed the way as he sailed in from the right, leaving one, two Danes stumbling behind him, and then went around goalie Peter Hirch as well, before tipping the puck into an empty net at 8:47 in the first period.
Danes got their chance for an equalizer when Douglas Murray got a two-minute penalty for inteference after what seemed to be a clean open ice hit. The Swedes killed the penalty, and then two minutes later, Marcus Nilson got his first goal of the tournament with a slapshot from the point.
"It was really important that we got off to a good start, that we showed the Danes right away that we were the better team, and in charge," said Henrik Lundqvist, who had just 17 saves in the game.
The second period was simply more of the same. The Swedes were one step ahead of the Danes. The deliberation, the hesitation was gone, and when there was a scoring chance, they took it, like Tony Martensson who beat Hirsch with a wrist shot after five minutes of play.
"Some of our guys who play in Sweden read the Swedish newspapers, and [we knew] they got a lot of [criticism] there. I still think they came out pretty weakly, but we just weren’t ready today, and that was our mistake," said Jesper Damgaard.
"Normally we would have a chance, but we just gave them the game today. And they got better and better every minute," he said.
Today, the Swedes scored even when there wasn’t a chance. Anton Stralman got his first of the tournament on a wrist shot from the blue line, bouncing to the net from Hirsch’s stick.
"It was a little mental thing, because maybe their goalie wasn’t that great against the Swiss, and then one of the greatest goalies in the world comes in today. We knew it would be tough to score three or four goals on him, so maybe that had a little bit of an impact on us," Damgaard said.
The Swedes got a goal in the first shift of the third period when Nicklas Backstrom got the puck to Karl Fabricius in the corner. He had no problems to step in front of the net and beat Hirsch for 5-0.
A minute later, the Swedes zigzagged through the Danish defense. Per Ledin carried the puck to the Danizh zone, faked a shot and passed the puck to Martensson on the right circle. Martensson sent it right away to Mattias Weinhandl whose slapshot beat Hirsch.
When Rickard Wallin scored 7-0 from a rebound five minutes into the third period, Hirsch had had enough.
"We player really poorly, which is a shame because I think we had a chance against this Swedish team. The way we played in the third period was embarrassing," said Kim Staal.
The Weinhandl-Martensson duo wasn't done yet. With ten minutes remaining, Weinhandl sent a pass across the Danish zone, and Martensson beat Patrick Galbraith for the first time.
Kasper Degn broke Lundqvist's shutout bid when he tipped in Stefan Lassen's pass from the corner for 8-1.
"It was really fun to put on the Tre Kronor sweater again," said Henrik Lundqvist, after the game, feeling the texture of the yellow jersey.
"When we were standing on the blue line, listening to the national anthem, I really felt that that's the reason I decided to come and play here. It was a great feeling," he added. "
Today, Stockholm is still the hockey capital of Scandinavia.