Henrik Lundqvist was solid in Wednesdays’ 4-2 win over the Czech Republic — stopping 27 of 29 shots — but credited Sweden’s power play and penalty kill as the standout performers.
“Special teams are really good,” Lundqvist said. “That’s going to be a big factor in this tournament.”
Sweden went 1-for-4 on the man advantage against the Czechs, with Erik Karlsson hammering home his second of the game early in the second period to give the Swedes a 4-0 lead. Daniel Sedin and Nicklas Backstrom assisted on the goal and, afterward, Karlsson spoke about playing on a PP unit with such talented skaters.
“We have some pretty good players out there,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier, and you can move around a little bit more, and trust that they’re going to get the puck to you.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time now.”
While the power play was good, Sweden’s penalty kill was even better. It killed off all four Czech man advantages on Wednesday, including two during a busy third period in which Lundqvist made 17 saves. The Swedish goalie acknowledged his club sagged a bit after building up a 4-0 lead, but thought there were some positives from the letdown that saw the Czechs cut the lead to two.
“I thought our first half was really strong,” Lundqvist explained. “After our fourth goal, we had a little letdown. It was a good test for us. You don’t want a game to go perfectly. You want a little test.”