International Ice Hockey Federation

Nylander gem sparks win

Nylander gem sparks win

Swiss lose cautious game, 3-1

Published 18.05.2017 23:24 GMT+2 | Author Andrew Podnieks
Nylander gem sparks win
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 18: Sweden's Marcus Kruger #16 stick checks Switzerland's Dean Kukan #34 while his teammate Leonardo Genoni #63 looks on during quarterfinal round action at the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship. (Photo by Matt Zambonin/HHOF-IIHF Images)
William Nylander's incredible breakaway goal broke a 1-1 tie midway through the middle period, propelling Sweden to victory and another semi-finals berth.

The Swedes now face ever-rivals Finland in one semi-finals on Saturday in Cologne while another great rivaly presents itself in the other--Canada versus Russia.

Coming into the game Sweden was 5-0 all time agianst the Swiss in elimination/playoff games since the playoff format was introduced, including that momentous 5-1 win in the gold-medal game four years ago.

"I liked the way we played," said defenceman Victor Hedman. "I liked the intensity we had and the opportunities we had. It’s a 60-minute hockey game. We know that, and we just kept plugging away and came out with a big win."

"I thought we played well," Nicklas Backstrom agreed. "I thought in the second period, we played a pretty strong team game. We managed the puck well, and after our goals, we got some energy from that. We played better. This is my third game, and I’d say this was our best team game. Perfect timing. We’re going to build from here and move on."

If one could pinpoint reasons for the result, two things stand out: the Swiss could not convert a four-minute power play early in the second; and, two goals came as a result of rebounds, wide open Swedes being given easy second chances after good saves by Leonardo Genoni.

"I thought we played pretty well," Cody Almond offered, "but we didn’t get enough offence. I think the power play was kind of our Achilles heel. When we get that four-minute power play, we have to find a way to score a goal there. But they’re a tough team."

Nylander started the play the led to the opening goal. His quick pass to Oscar Lindberg gave Lindberg a good chance in the slot. His shot was kicked out by Genoni but it landed on the stick of Nicklas Backstrom, and he had no trouble finding the back of the net at 4:15.

Sweden played its usual kill-the-clock style effectively, but the Swiss got back into it on a lucky play. Gaetan Haas chased down a loose puck to the side of the goal after he lost control of it on a rush, and he backhanded a pass between his legs in front. The puck went off the stick of Swedish defenceman Oliver Ekman-Larssn and beat Lundqvist at 12:53.

The Swiss had a fantastic opportunity to blow the game open when Backstrom took a double minor high-sticking penalty early in the second, but the Sweden p.k. was letter perfect. That proved to be a turning point in the game.

Then came Nylander’s goal at 13:15. Edman-Larsson got the puck deep in his own end and fired a spectacular 30-metre pass up the middle to Nylander breaking through centre ice between two Swiss defenders. 

Nylander blew by one, but Christian Marti kept hounding him, eventually tripping him near the goal. But as he was falling—the referee indicating a penalty or even penalty shot—Nylander slid the puck between Genoni’s pads. If this wasn't the best goal of the tournament, well, which one was?

The Swiss, though, were not going to go quietly. Denis Hollenstein made a nice rush down the right side, helped by a stumble by Anton Stralman. Going in on Lundqvist, Hollenstein tried the Forsberg one-handed move and pushed the puck just wide to the near side.

Tre Kronor aided their cause by scoring 3:44 into the third. Alexander Edler came over the Swiss blue line, dropped the puck to Joel Lundqvist and headed to the net. Lundqvist's shot was kicked out by Genoni but again onto the stick of Edler. His quick shot went it to make it 3-1.

"Of course you’re always happy when you contribute and can score a goal," Edler said. "It was a great shot, great rebound, pretty much an empty net."


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Interview with Hedman & Nylander