Winter Olympics 2014: Sweden vs Czech Republic Men's Hockey Recap

Henrik Zetterberg celebrates his goal for Sweden en route to a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic. - Bruce Bennett

Sweden opened the 2014 Winter Olympic with four straight goals in a 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic. Erik Karlsson stole the show with two goals while 41-year-old Jaromir Jagr proved he can still play with the best in the world in Sochi.

Maybe the Czech Republic should have dressed Ondrej Pavelec, but maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Sweden proved why they are Gold Medal favorites with four straight goals before the Czech Republic rallied. But it was too little too late as Henrik Lundqvist closed the door and Sweden held on for the 4-2 victory.

Henrik Zetterberg's goal proved to be the winner while Erik Karlsson added two of his own.

1st Period

The game got off to a fast pace with few whistles over the first eight minutes of play. It was fun seeing Jaromir Jagr and Tomas Plekanec reunited for the Czechs. And then there was Tomas Kaberle, remember him? That's okay, I'm still trying to forget as well.

Sweden struck first with their goalie pulled on a delayed penalty call on Martin Erat. Karlsson did what he does best with a shot from the point that found the back of the net. The goal was originally awarded to his former Ottawa Senators teammate Daniel Alfredsson, but later corrected. Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Alexander Steen picked up assists.

The Czech Republic found themselves in penalty trouble again shortly after the 1-0 goal as Michal Barinka received two minutes for interference. As terrifying as Sweden's powerplay looks, they failed to score with the extra man.

However, it was Patrik Berglund streaking down the left wing and scoring Sweden's second goal of the game shortly after the penalty had ended. It was a fast shot from a bad angle that Czech netminder Jakub Kovar will surely want back. Ekman-Larsson nabbed his second helper of the night while goaltender Henrik Lundqvist got one for himself for starting the play from Sweden's end.

2nd Period

The Czech Republic didn't get the second period start they were looking for. Detroit Red Wings' captain Zetterberg scored just 51 seconds into the frame to chase Kovar from the net.

Alexander Salak came into the net in relief, but faced a similar fate on the first shot he faced when Karlsson unloaded his second goal of the game. The powerplay goal, with assists from Daniel Sedin and Nicklas Backstrom, came while Marek Zidlicky was in the box for tripping.

Zidlicky made up for his foul by scoring the Czech's first goal of the game on a hard shot on a nifty Patrik Elias drop pass. The goal revitalized the Czechs and they started to take over the game for a large stretch of the second period.

Jagr scored with only one hand on his stick while Plekanec shoved Swedish defenseman Niklas Kronwall into Lundqvist.

The play was reviewed but the goal stood, leaving Lundqvist and his teammates understandably unhappy.

3rd Period

No goals were scored in the third period but Ales Hemsky finally saw some ice time for the Czech Republic after spending most of the game nailed to the bench.

In an intriguing move, or non-move rather, the Czech Republic decided not to pull their goaltender late in the third period while down two goals. Since goal differential is considered when determining the standings, the Czechs likely didn't want to risk having an empty-netter scored against them stretching their differential from a negative two to a negative three.

Shots were 29-25 in favor of the Czechs, but they Sweden's goaltending proved far superior. With the win, Sweden takes over first place in Group C at the Winter Olympics. The pressure will now be on the Czech Republic to pick up wins over Switzerland and Latvia to advance further in the tournament.

Did you know?

The Bolshoy Ice Dome's roof lights up during hockey games to display the game's score and team's national flags.

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