NEWS

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

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

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 - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Palmieri 82 30 27 3 57
A. Henrique 80 30 20 10 50
T. Zajac 74 14 28 3 42
M. Cammalleri 42 14 24 15 38
D. Severson 72 1 20 -8 21
R. Boucher 39 8 11 -13 19
D. Schlemko 67 6 13 -22 19
J. Moore 73 4 15 -12 19
A. Larsson 82 3 15 15 18
J. Blandisi 41 5 12 -14 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 27 25 6 .924 2.15
K. Kinkaid 9 9 1 .904 2.81
Advertisement
Advertisement