NEWS

Journey to gold nearly complete for Sweden, Canada

Devils prospects Patrice Cormier and Mattias Tedenby play in WJC title match

Monday, 01.5.2009 / 9:43 AM ET / News
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


Journey to gold nearly complete for Sweden, Canada
Winning a championship is a journey down a long, hard path. For Canada and Sweden, their path to Monday\'s gold-medal game at the 2009 World Junior Championship (7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network, TSN) has been full of trials and tribulations.

Patrice Cormier (second from r.) was New Jersey's third choice, 54th overall, in 2008. He has a goal and an assist in five games for Canada (5-0-0) at the 2009 World Junior Championship.

OTTAWA
-- Winning a championship is a journey down a long, hard path. For Canada and Sweden, their path to Monday's gold-medal game at the 2009 World Junior Championship (7:30 p.m. ET, NHL Network, TSN) has been full of trials and tribulations.

For Sweden, it was coming back from a 2-1 deficit in Saturday's semifinal against Slovakia to take a 5-3 victory. For Canada, it was digging out from a 3-0 first-period hole against the United States to escape with a 7-4 victory, and then pulling another Houdini in Saturday's semifinal against Russia. Jordan Eberle's goal with 5.4 seconds left in regulation forced overtime, and then Eberle and John Tavares scored in the shootout to keep alive Canada's drive for a fifth straight WJC gold medal.

"We've had a journey," said Canada coach Pat Quinn. "We knew it was going to be a journey from the start. … It wasn't an easy trek. Championships never are. I've never been around one yet that's been an easy one. But we are where we want to be."

Mattias Tedenby (r.), the Devils' first pick, 24th overall, in 2008, has collected a goal and four assists for five points in five games with Sweden (5-0-0).
As is Sweden, and they'll meet Canada for the second straight year in the gold-medal game. Last Jan. 5, in the Czech Republic, Matt Halischuk scored 3:36 into overtime to give Canada the title.

In the last 365 days, Sweden has grown in confidence, and believes this year will be different. Part of that comes from Sweden's defeat of Canada in group play last year, plus the positive feeling that came from a 4-2 loss in a pre-tournament exhibition game.

After the first period (of the exhibition game), all the coaches were happy because we said, 'We can beat this team,'" said Sweden coach Par Marts. "But in the second and third period they were a better team than us. But after that first period, the feeling inside was, we can beat Canada. We beat them last year in group play and tied in the final, lost in overtime. We can beat them again, but the guys have to play the best hockey they ever have before."

The Canada players also know they will have to bring their best effort. Sweden is led by a group of fast, highly-skilled forwards, led by Mikael Backlund and his team-best 5 goals, and Simon Hjalmarsson, who has 4 goals and 6 points. And Erik Karlsson leads the team and is tied for the tournament lead among defensemen with 9 points.

"They have a lot of skill," said Canada forward John Tavares, the tournament's leading scorer with 8 goals and 14 points. "They're a team that moves the puck well. They have a lot of chemistry, and they can do a lot of things with the puck if we're not playing our position and trying to make hope plays or risky plays."

Center Cody Hodgson said the plan is for the forwards to help out the defensemen as much as possible.

"Our third guy high is huge," said Hodgson. "We're getting too offensive-minded in the offensive zone, looking for things. Sometimes when you're on the ice your emotions get too high, you go for a goal and you sacrifice something defensively. Just get in the frame of mind to take care of the defense first and the offense will come."

If the offense comes, so will the crowd. Scotiabank Place has been a huge home-ice advantage for Canada.

"It's been a big advantage for us the whole tournament," said Tavares. "It's nice having that big support and having that crowd behind us the whole way."

Sweden's answer is a fast start to attempt to quiet the masses.

"I think we have to be ready from the start," said Karlsson. "They're going to come out hard. We just have to keep our head up and create something in the offensive zone. I think it's going to help us a lot."

Both teams believe they have the game to take home the gold, but understand the supreme effort it will take.

"It's important for those guys to play their best game ever (Monday)," said Marts. "We talked about that from early August, that the fifth of January, you're going to break your personal record by playing the best hockey you can. We talked about that step by step, that tomorrow is the time."

"We know we can play a lot better and we will," said Hodgson. "We're working out the kinks and working toward the gold medal. That was our goal the whole time, to get better every game, and we've got our best for last."

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com

Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Staff Writer

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59