|05-07-2005, 10:29 AM||#1|
lets go partner
Join Date: Oct 2004
Preview: Canada vs. Sweden
Matchup: Canada vs. Sweden, 20.15, Olympiahalle
Canada: The last time these countries played at the IIHF World Championship was last year in the final game, as Canada claimed the gold with a 5-3 win. There are only five players back this year—forwards Brendan Morrison, Brenden Morrow, Dany Heatley, Ryan Smyth, and goalie Roberto Luongo. This is a much better team that last year's (on paper, anyway), and although it is still early, the Canadians look to be in great form. Goalie Martin Brodeur established himself last game in the team's 3-1 win over the USA. Up front, Rick Nash, with his awesome goal scoring, and Joe Thornton, with his all-round game, lead the tournament with eight points each. Nash has six goals so far. This one-two punch is bolstered by a defense that has surrendered just five goals in three games. The dynamic defensive duo of Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby has contributed greatly to the team's penalty killing, which has surrendered just two goals. Canada leads the field with 17 goals scored and its power play is also number one, chugging along at 50 percent on the strength of six goals. Of course, Canada should only get better as the tournament proceeds, so the Swedes will have all they can handle tonight.
Sweden: Tre Kronor played its best game against Finland last time out, winning 5-1, and it will have to be equally impressive tonight if it hopes to come away with a point or two. It currently shares first place with Canada in the Group F standings, so the result tonight could also give one team a decided advantage for final seeding heading into the quarter-finals. Sweden has to create offense and maintain puck possession in the Canadian end if it hopes to succeed. Daniel Sedin and Daniel Alfredsson both have five points to lead the team, and Jonathan Hedstrom has three goals. Sweden also has to take advantage on the power play, and this matchup will also feature best on best. Canada's power play is number one, but the Swedes have a 100 percent success rate on the PK so far. The team will also need a great effort from goalie Henrik Lundqvist, who has run hot and cold so far. This should be a dandy of a game, perhaps more important for the Swedes who have to get over a psychological barrier in terms of beating Canada. If they don't win tonight, it will make their task that much more difficult if the two teams tangle later in the tournament.
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