Canada scored the only three goals of the third period to erase a 4-3 Sweden lead and held on for a thrilling 6-4 victory.
The win gives Canada a perfect 4-0 record and 12 points in the Group A standings while Sweden remains tied with Switzerland in second with eight. Sweden lost for the first time after two regulation wins and one in OT.
“We had a big wake-up call in the first,” admitted Tyler Seguin. “We went to the dressing room and talked before the second. A lot of guys were saying we can do better. We can score goals. We can be better at defending. We put it all together and came away with three points.”
Eleven players recorded a point for Canada, which took advantage of some shaky goaltending from Anders Nilsson. Taylor Hall had a goal and assist for the winners and now is tied for the overall scoring lead with Yevgeni Dadonov. Both players have eight points in four games. Hall and Filip Forsberg, who also scored tonight for the Swedes, are tied for the goals lead with five each.
Sweden continues with a game against Germany tomorrow while Canada now has a two-day break before playing France on Saturday afternoon.
“Obviously our first period was really good, but after that, Canada turned it up and we sat back a little too much and let them come attack us,” noted Forsberg. “That’s not going to cut it against this good of a team.”
Canada found itself on its heels right from the opening faceoff and just never got on track in the first period. Tre Kronor opened the scoring at 5:06 on a give-and-go behind the Canadian goal between linemates Loui Eriksson and Anton Lander.
Eriksson gave it to Lander who stepped out front on a wraparound, beating goalie Mike Smith and avoiding a check from Sidney Crosby.
The Swedes struck for two late goals to take control of the game. The first, at 17:21, was lucky in that Oscar Klefbom directed a weak backhand towards the goal. The puck went off Victor Rask’s skate, and video review determined there was no distinct kicking motion.
Just 28 seconds later, Filip Forsberg scored off a bad pinch by Brent Burns at the Swedish blue line. Forsberg walked in on an odd-man rush and snapped a shot of the short—side post and in, stunning the Canadians and putting the Swedes in clear control.
“They move the puck well,” said captain Sidney Crosby. “We were standing around watching them a little too much. So we weren’t competing as much as we needed to. We can’t afford to do that again. We can’t take a whole period like that and be down 3-0. But it’s a good learning experience for us.”
Canada being Canada, though, the players came out with renewed energy in what turned out to be a wild and entertaining period. It started when Todd McLellan shook up his lines, putting Crosby out with Eberle and Hall. They created three great chances, and on the next shift, Canada scored.
The goal came at 6:43 on a delayed penalty when Aaron Ekblad got a loose puck in the high slot and put a quick shot into the open side while goalie Anders Nilsson was out of position.
The new Crosby line continued to dominate, and at 11:27 Taylor Hall drew a penalty shot after he was fouled on a breakaway by John Klingberg. Hall put the freebie between Nilsson’s legs, and now it was 3-2.
“It’s a lot different than a shootout,” Hall suggested. “I just wanted to go down there and try to get him moving with that first fake, and I managed to open him up. Good moment for our team. It’s always fun to score on penalty shots. It’s a great way to get momentum.”
The comeback was complete three minutes later. Ekblad’s point shot was beautifully tipped by Sean Couturier at 14:23, and the crowd erupted with shock and delight. That dominating 3-0 lead for Sweden? Gone.
But the resilient Swedes re-took the lead less than a minute later when Mattias Sjögren got the puck in the corner and fired a quick pass to Oscar Möller. His one-timer beat Smith over the stick side shoulder to make it 4-3 Tre Kronor.
Canada tied the game at 10:24 of the third thanks to a brilliant little steal by Crosby behind the Sweden net. Klefbom was lax with the puck, and Crosby picked his pocket with a magician’s touch, got it to Eberle in the slot who in turn tipped it behind him to Patrick Wiercioch. Wiercioch wired a high shot over Nilsson’s glove.
Tyler Ennis then gave Canada its first lead of the night on its first power play. Hall off the rush dropped the puck to Tyler Ennis who ripped a shot over the glove again of Nilsson at 13:31.
Tyler Seguin added an empty netter at 18:10 to end the game.
IHLC: With the win, Canada wins its 60th International Hockey Lineal Championship, wrenching the title away from Sweden, who ends their streak at six wins as the incumbent IHLC holder coming into the Worlds, defeating the Czechs, Austria and Latvia. This marks Canada’s first reign since last year’s World Championship, also the site of the last IHLC meeting between these two squads, when Canada retained in a 3-2 overtime victory in the Group Round. Canada gets three days off before facing France next over the IHLC.
02:23 – PEN – Savard, hooking
05:06 – GOAL – Lander (Eriksson, Granberg)
17:21 – GOAL – Rask (Klefbom, Lindholm)
17:49 – GOAL – Forsberg (Ekman-Larsson, Klingberg)
26:43 – GOAL – Ekblad (Burns, O’Reilly)
31:27 – PEN SHOT GOAL – Hall
34:23 – GOAL – Couturier (Ekblad)
35:19 – GOAL – Möller (Sjögren, Ekman-Larsson)
36:09 – PEN – MacKinnon, roughing
36:09 – PEN – Kronwall, roughing
50:24 – GOAL – Wiercioch (Eberle, Crosby)
52:04 – PEN – Granberg, hooking
53:31 – PP GOAL – Ennis (Hall, Spezza)
58:10 – EN GOAL – Seguin (O’Reilly)
W: Smith (28-32)
L: Nilsson (34-39)
SHOTS ON GOAL
5+19+15 = 39
14+9+9 = 32
Goaltenders: Martin Jones, Mike Smith. Defence: Tyson Barrie, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, Dan Hamhuis (A), Jake Muzzin, David Savard, Patrick Wiercioch. Forwards: Sean Couturier, Sidney Crosby (C), Matt Duchene, Cody Eakin, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Claude Giroux, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza (A), Tyler Toffoli.
Goaltenders: Jhonas Enroth, Anders Nilsson. Defence: Jonas Ahnelöv, Mattias Ekholm, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Petter Granberg, Oscar Klefbom, John Klingberg, Staffan Kronwall (C). Forwards: Nicklas Danielsson, Jimmie Ericsson (A), Loui Eriksson, Filip Forsberg, Simon Hjalmarsson, Jacob Josefson, Anton Lander, Elias Lindholm, Joakim Lindström, Joel Lundqvist (A), Oscar Möller, Victor Rask, Mattias Sjögren.