Sweden gave us Ikea, Finland gave us Angry birds, and these heated Scandinavian hockey teams faced off for the matinee game today in Toronto. Whether you’re a fan of either of their global contributions, the neighboring countries have shared a long rival, which was made even more pronounced after Sweden defeated Finland on the global stage in the 2010 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Unfortunately for the Fins, today would be another loss to their foe.
Sweden’s goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist returned to the line up today after missing the pervious game to the flu. Lundqvist’s superior net-minding would be the difference in the game with making all 36 saves to give his team the shutout win. Finland’s Tuukka Rask had 27 saves. Despite the 2-0 score, the game was evening played and went into the first intermission scoreless. It would be Tampa Bay’s Anton Stralman’s goal, assisted by Henrik Sedin, halfway through the second that gave the Swedes the 1-0 lead.
The tension on the ice became more apparent when the third period began to draw to a close. Finland’s Lepisto had a hard open ice check on Backlund resulting in matching roughing penalties for both Lepisto and our boy Landeskog, who got involved after the play. Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu of team Finland had a couple of opportunities to tie the game in the third, but Lundqvist made the saves, and Loui Eriksson would score on the empty net in the final seconds to give Sweden the 2-0 win.
With the win, Sweden (2-0-0) is liking to advance to the next round, while Finland (0-2-0) will likely be eliminated Wednesday depending on the outcome of Sweden v. North America. While part of me was rooting for the underdog Fins, I can’t help but be happy for the country that brought us Peter Forsberg, our current captain, Swedish meatballs, and a giant blue warehouse of cheap furniture that without I’d probably be sitting on the floor in an unfurnished house. And hey, anytime Landeskog can beat Koivu is victory enough for me.