ST LOUIS – In the opening men’s hockey game of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Alexander Steen had an assist and Patrik Berglund had a goal giving Sweden a 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic.
Just over ten minutes into the game, Sweden opened the scoring when Erik Karlsson scored off a feed from Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Karlsson’s point shot was aided by the screen provided by Alexander Steen in front of the Czech goaltender Alexander Salak. Steen also received an assist on the play after he dished off the puck to Ekman-Larsson and went to the goal for the screen.
A little more than three minutes later, Patrik Berglund burst down the left side and ripped a lethal shot over the right pad of the Salak that just snuck inside the post for 2-0 Sweden lead. Ekman-Larsson gained his second assist after goaltender Henrik Lundquist fed him the puck up ice which began the scoring play.
Just under a minute into the second period, Henrik Zetterberg netted his first to give Sweden a 3-0 lead with assists to Gabriel Landeskog and Niklas Kronwall. The third nail in the Czech coffin led to a change in goalies when Jakub Kovar came in to relieve Salak.
Kovar was soon welcomed to the crease with a short-handed situation and eventual goal by Erik Karlsson, his second of the game.
The Czechs scored two goals a few minutes apart in the middle of the second period to finish the scoring for the entire game as the third period was uneventful.
Alexander Steen finished the game with 1 assist, 3 shots and a +2 rating. He won 2 of 3 face-offs and played 19:27 of the game on 27 shifts at an average of 0:43 seconds a shift. Patrik Berglund has 1 goal, 2 shots and an EVEN rating. He won 4 of 8 face-offs and played 12:14 of game time on 19 shifts for an average of 0:38 seconds per shift.
Sweden will now face Switzerland in their second game on Friday, February 14th at 7:30 AM ET on TSN, NBCSN. The Swedes then battle Latvia to close out the preliminary round on Saturday, February 15th at 12:00 PM ET on USA Network.
As for the rest of the Blues, I will be providing previews and updates throughout the tournament. The United States will be represented by center David Backes, right wing T.J. Oshie and defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Canada will be represented by defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester. Russia will be represented by right wing Vladimir Tarasenko. Slovakia will be represented by goaltender Jaroslav Halak.
Follow me on Twitter at @DMMORRELL