Sweden and Norway both played their first game of the 2018 Winter Games. The two Scandinavian teams have faced each other 19 times before in International play. Sweden has historically held the advantage, winning 17 of the 19 matchups.
The last time the two teams faced each other was in the 2016 World Championship tournament. Sweden won 3-2. The last time Norway beat Sweden was in 2011. That game went to penalty shots with Norway winning, 5-4.
Ahead of the game it was announced Sweden’s Rasmus Dahlin would be a healthy scratch. The defender is projected to the top pick in the 2018 NHL draft. Scratching the 17 year old was a surprise move by Sweden.
Sweden got on the board first. Par Lindholm used a line change to his advantage. Norway lost track of him, which allowed him to charge the net sans defender. Lindhom one-timed a centering pass from Linus Omark and found the back of the net giving the Swedes the 1-nill advantage.
A defining moment came in the first period when Norway was able to kill a two-man advantage for Sweden.
But after holding strong in the two-man deficit Norway almost immediately gave up an even-strength goal to Anton lander. Lander got the rebound in front after a beautiful display of tic-tac-toe passing by Sweden. Lander played parts of six seasons in the NHL.
Sweden showed its dominance out shooting Norway 14-1 in the first period.
In the second, the two teams got physical. Lander took an awkward hit to the back by Norway. Lindstrom returned the favor, laying a monster hit on Alexander Reichenberg. Afterwards, Norway got chirpy, but the officials put an end to it and that was the last of the extra circulars.
Norway had its own 5-on-3 advantage for 56 seconds with eight minutes to go in the second. Several miss-timed passes killed their best chances to score as Sweden was able to kill the two-man advantage.
Scary moment in the second, when Norwegian Kristian Forsberg was cut in the face by the skate of Joel Lundqvist. Lundqvist is the twin brother of NHL goalie Henrik Lundqvist. Forsberg eventually returned in the third period.
While Norway didn’t tally a goal in the second, they looked a lot more evenly matched with Sweden. They had 12 shots on goal compared to Sweden’s six in the period.
Norway came out dominating the third period. However, just as the momentum was shifting to Norway, they had a goal waived off for goalie interference. Immediately after, Sweden answered with a goal by Dennis Everberg for his first Olympic goal.
Just 38 seconds later Mikael Wikstrand lasered a wrister into the top of the net. That’s all Sweden would need as they went on to win 4-0. Both teams play tomorrow, Sweden faces Germany and Norway will take on Finland.