Winter Olympics 2014: Canada vs Sweden Men's Hockey Gold Medal Recap

Streeter Lecka

The stage was set for a classic match up between hockey's best nations.

Canada has once again swept the gold medals in Olympic hockey, as the men's team comfortably disposed of an injury-ridden Sweden to capture their second consecutive Olympic gold.

As was the case all tournament, Carey Price dominated during Canada's 3-0 win, although it has to be said that Canada's defensive system rarely allowed a second chance even if Sweden applied a lot of offensive pressure in the first half of the game. The defence went into a shell early, and it was an efficient way of minimizing Sweden's scoring chances.

After a competitive start to the game, Jonathan Toews opened the scoring by tipping a Jeff Carter pass behind Henrik Lundqvist. Toews wasn't the only Canadian player to finally score a goal. Both Sidney Crosby and oft-maligned Chris Kunitz managed to tickle the twine, which gave Price more than enough run support to secure the win.

Price did not have to make many show-stopping saves during his second shutout in a row, however his immaculate positioning and his prominent poise meant that Team Canada could play comfortably all tournament long, including this game. His stellar play and stoic performance earned him goalie of the tournament honours from the tournament directors. It's tough to argue with his selection, giving his stat line of 5-0-0, 0.60 GAA & .971 S%.

To be perfectly frank Sweden never really stood a chance in this game. After a strong start their defensemen were constantly pressured by the endless Canadian fore check. Canada wore them down and reaped the rewards, which is evidenced by several shifts where Canada managed to perform line changes while keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

Canada simply continued to play a perfect puck possession game, and as we all know that's the best way to win hockey games.

The Canadians gave up three goals all tournament. Three. That's half a goal per game. It's tough to blame any other nation for not being able to topple the Olympic champions, because it's quite hard to score when the puck is never on your stick.

Throughout the tournament Canada's Corsi close total was 69.9% (314-135), the epitome of pure dominance.

For all their troubles, Sweden should be proud; they succumbed to a hockey giant that was playing perfect hockey, and there's no shame in that. Simply put: Canada was way too good.

These Olympic Games also shattered a number of lazy narratives. Carey Price isn't a big game goalie. PK Subban would be a locker room distraction. Canada's glaring weakness is goaltending. Poof!

Fortunately for the Canadiens, Price and Subban will return to Montreal with gold medals and a plethora of valuable experience.  It's worth saying that back-up Roberto Luongo was nothing but classy, supporting the younger Price every step of the way.

Mike Babcock called this Olympic roster "a work in progress"; turns out he was absolutely right. They came together when it mattered, and although they played in a few close games, they almost always carried the play.

It was a perfect tournament for Canada, in what will surely be remembered as one of the most dominant displays of hockey in Olympic history.

I apologize in advance for how choppy this recap was. I honestly struggled to put my thoughts into a coherent context that would accurately describe how perfect this victory was. Thanks for sticking with us during the Olympics, we shattered every single record imaginable on our site by a wide margin, and that's thanks to all our great readers and community members.

Highlights (all gifs sourced from the excellent @PeteBlackburn):

The opening goal, and also Toews' second golden goal in his young career:

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Crosby's breakaway goal:

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Kunitz with a nice takeaway and snipe:

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Erik Karlsson summing up Sweden's game:

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Team Canada swarming Price:

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Subban's post-game video:

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