In the final event of a whirlwind Winter Games, two of the more decorated and accomplished countries in men’s Olympic hockey square off as Canada faces Sweden in Sunday’s gold medal final in Sochi, Russia.
The matchup pits two dominant and undefeated goalkeepers in these Winter Games, and offenses capable of breaking down those defensive walls.
Following the 1-0 victory over the United States, the Canadians seek their ninth gold medal and second straight in their Olympic history. Goalkeeper Carey Price advanced his record to 4-0 in these Games making 31 saves against a potent U.S. attack, and first-time Olympian forward and Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn scored the semi-final’s only goal in the second period.
Sweden could capture its second gold medal in the last three Games, and third overall since 1994 in Lillehammer largely due to the stellar play of goal keeper Henrik Lundqvist.
The New York Rangers star last guided the Swedes to gold medal glory in the 2006 Turin Games, and is fifth in save percentage during these games. Price is second overall, blocking 96.3 percent of all attempts.
The offenses are led by Canada’s Drew Doughty, who’s tied for third with six total points and four goals, and Sweden’s Erik Karlsson netting eight total points and four goals as well.
Making his first Olympic appearance, Karlsson leads a loaded Swedish attack along with Daniel Seden and playmaker Marcus Johansson.
The Canadians proved especially deft on defense even with a man down against the U.S., killing three penalties in the semi-final, and the squad has never trailed during these games. In fact Canada has only surrendered one power play goal in the tournament, and it came against Norway in the opening group stage game.
The two sides have met once before in the final back in1994 with Sweden pulling out a 3-2 victory after a shootout. With the legendary Conn Smythe as coach, Canada beat out Sweden in the 1928 St. Mortiz Games when the winner was decided by a three-game round robin following the group stage.
TV Channel: NBC
Time: Sunday, 7 a.m. EST
Online Stream Info: A live online stream can be viewed at NBC Live Extra here.
Prediction: Sweden 3-2