SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 23: Jonathan Toews #16 of Canada celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Henrik Lundqvist #30 of Sweden in the first period during the Men's Ice Hockey Gold Medal match on Day 16 of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics at Bolshoy Ice Dome on February 23, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Coming into the gold medal game, Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby hadn’t scored a goal yet in the Olympic Games in Sochi, but on Sunday they picked the right time to get on the board. Both players scored as Team Canada won a 3-0 shutout victory over Sweden to capture their second consecutive gold medal.
Chris Kunitz also added his first tally of the tournament with a third period insurance goal. Carey Price saved all 23 shots he faced to rack up his second consecutive shutout to help Canada win their ninth all time gold medal in men’s hockey.
Despite Sweden missing Nicklas Backstrom for the game (reportedly because of an illegal supplement), the game did start out with both sides getting some serious chances in the early going. The Swedes opened the scoring chances about four minutes in when Gustav Nyquist drove to the front of the net, but his shot ended up bouncing off the post and back under the leg pad of Price to avert catastrophe for the Canadian squad.
After more back-and-forth play through the middle stages of the period, the Canadians got on the board with just over seven minutes remaining in the frame. Shea Weber and Jeff Carter traded passes along the boards, and after showing some great patience, Carter fired a picture perfect pass to the front of the net, and Toews was able to deflect the pass into the net to give him his first goal of the tournament and his team a 1-0 lead.
For the remainder of the period the two teams continued exchanging blows, with Canada getting the lion’s share of the opportunities. They did get a power play late in the period, but the Swedes did a good job of closing down the middle of the ice in the offensive zone, with Corey Perry’s deflection chance the only look Canada got as their man-advantage chance went by the wayside.
With Sweden on the power play to begin the second period, they went to work trying to score on Price. Marcus Kruger and Niklas Kronwall both got really nice chances in the sequence, but Price displayed some quick leg pads and good lateral movement as he fought off all challenges to keep his team in front by a goal.
After the successful kill, the Canadians seemed to gain a burst of energy, and they really clamped down on both ends of the ice. Perry once again got another solid chance from the slot, but Henrik Lundqvist was able to shoulder the puck away. Jamie Benn also had another good opportunity when Crosby got a wide open perch alongside the net, but a Swedish poke check forced the puck into the corner and allowed Sweden to remain close in the game.
Later in the period, a bad play by Jonathan Ericsson ended up opening the door for Canada to extend their lead, and they took advantage. Crosby stole the puck from Ericsson as he crossed the blue line into the offensive zone, and on the ensuing breakaway, Crosby fired a gorgeous back-handed shot past Lundqvist to give Canada a 2-0 edge.
The Canadians continued to dominate the puck possession game for the remainder of the period, with Drew Doughty highlighting the scoring chances that they got as the clock wound down. Lundqvist managed to keep things close though, making several key saves to get the game to intermission with his team trailing by a 2-0 margin.
In the third period, Canada somehow upped their intensity even more and completely shut down the Swedish offense. Even with the Swedish offense trying everything they could to get back in the game (and getting a power play in the process), Canada held them to just three shots in the frame, and that impressive defensive display really put the game away for the defending champions.
Kunitz did add an insurance goal about nine minutes into the frame, weaving his way through traffic and then firing a perfect wrist shot under the crossbar to make it a 3-0 game, and that was all Price needed as he fought off the remaining few shots from Sweden to secure the gold medal.