Tre Kronor is back again.
That was the story out of Ufa on Thursday, as Team Sweden advanced to its second consecutive World Junior Championship final by defeating Russia 3-2 in a shootout.
With the win, Sweden will now face the U.S. in the gold medal game for a chance to capture consecutive titles after going 31 years without winning it all.
Montreal prospect Sebastian Collberg scored the decisive shootout winner after the Russians overcame a two-goal deficit to send the game to extra time.
Elias Lindholm and Filip Forsberg — Washington’s first-round selection at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft — scored the goals for Sweden, while Andrei Mironov and Sabres first-rounder Mikhail Grigorenko replied for Russia.
The Russians staged an impressive comeback, but will look back on a dismal first period as their undoing.
They were out-shot 14-2 in the opening frame — it took Russia nearly 15 minutes to get its first shot on goal — and allowed Sweden to score twice in the first 10 minutes.
As mentioned earlier, Sweden will now face the U.S. in the gold medal game on Saturday, Jan. 5 (7:30 a.m. ET). Sweden is the defending champ while the U.S. last won gold in 2010.
Of note, this will mark the first time in World Junior Championships history these two nations have met in the final.
Related: Team USA gets payback, beats Canada 5-1; Will play for gold Saturday
Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.
Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.
This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.
“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”
While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”
And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.
Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.
In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.
Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks
A statement from Raffi Torres:
“I accept the 41-game suspension handed down to me by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. I worked extremely hard over the last two years following reconstructive knee surgery to resume my NHL career, and this is the last thing I wanted to happen. I am disappointed I have put myself in a position to be suspended again. I sincerely apologize to Jakob for the hit that led to this suspension, and I’m extremely thankful that he wasn’t seriously injured as a result of the play. I also want to apologize to my Sharks teammates and the organization.”
A statement from San Jose GM Doug Wilson:
“The Sharks organization fully supports the NHL’s supplementary discipline decision regarding Raffi. While we do not believe there was any malicious intent, this type of hit is unacceptable and has no place in our game. There is a difference between playing hard and crossing the line and there is no doubt, in this instance, Raffi crossed that line. We’re very thankful that Jakob was not seriously injured as a result of this play.”
Silfverberg says he expects to play Saturday when the Ducks open their regular season Saturday in San Jose.