Russia and Sweden are always likely candidates to field strong international teams.
Today Sweden, with a 2-1 victory, proved they are viable contenders for the World Cup—even without goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who sat out the game due to a last-minute illness. Goalie Jacob Markstrom would get the nod in his place.
The 1st Period went back and forth as both teams failed to establish any momentum. Both teams had a few shots on net and power play chances, but neither would capitalize on their opportunities.
When the 2nd Period started, team Sweden slowly began to put the pressure on team Russia, forcing Sergei Bobrovsky to make a couple of difficult saves to keep the game scoreless. He couldn't stop everything though.
Gabriel Landeskog scored on a one timer from the point during a power play and Victor Hedman scored from the slot a little later in the period. Sweden, with their 2-0 lead heading into the 3rd Period and looked like they weren't only going to walk away with a victory but also a shutout for Markstrom. Capitals forward, Alexander Ovechkin would spoil the shutout scoring with 30 seconds left with a blast from his favorite spot above the left circle.
Ovechkin then nearly forced overtime with a mere seven seconds left, scoring a goal that would be reviewed and eventually overturned for going off his glove. The game would end with Markstrom making 27 saves, with Hedman, Landeskog and Ovechkin each tallying a goal.
How’d our Avalanche do?
Landeskog and Carl Soderberg played on the same line for most of the night. Both players had a couple of chances early on. They displayed great communication rapport through out the game. The chemistry from the end of last season shows as they continue to compete. Landeskog and Soderberg displayed great work on the boards, something the Colorado Avalanche seemed to have struggled with mightily last season. It'll be interesting to see if both guys can keep the speed and confidence going not only in the tournament but also heading into Colorado's season.
Team Russia takes on Team North America Monday night at 8:00 PM EST
Team Sweden gets a day off before playing Finland Tuesday Afternoon