Team Sweden will take on Team Finland, where the winner takes first place in Group C. Both of these Nordic rivals have had strong tournaments up to this point, so expect an exciting match back and forth when they hit the ice. This is what you can expect when another chapter in this historic rivalry is ready for puck release.
Playing time: 13 February 2022 at 12.40 PST / kl. 03.40 EST
3 keys to victory for Sweden
Stay out of the box
Through two matches, Sweden has collected 10 minor penalties and leads the tournament with 20 penalty minutes. The Swede’s need to stay out of the box as Finland will most likely be able to benefit if it is sent to powerplay. Finland is currently working with an efficiency of 33.33 percent, while Sweden has scored two goals in seven penalties so far. Discipline will be the key and will have a big impact on the outcome of this game.
If Sweden is to cope with the riot, they need more deep points. So far this tournament has only five players goals, with zero from the blue line. Strikers Marcus Krüger and Jacob de la Rose, who were expected to have big tournaments, have stuck to zero points for the tournament and will have to find the net against Finland if Sweden is to be successful.
This game is expected to be a defensive chess match, and the bottom six will be expected to play a crucial role. Both teams have only conceded three goals through the two matches and have done a good job so far in eliminating the opposition’s six best from the scoreboard. Whether it is Pontus Holmberg, Gustav Rydahl or a defender like Christian Folin, deep players must find a way to score if Sweden wants to take the top spot in Group C.
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Through the first two matches, Sweden has 48 shots on goal, which places them in ninth place out of 12 in the tournament. In short, they need to generate more than 24 shots per match to succeed, especially against Finland. Sweden seems hesitant to only get pucks online, especially on power play. If Sweden can generate 30 or more shots on goal, they have a good chance of hitting Finland. If they again generate less than 25 shots, they can hope that luck is on their side as Harri Säteri has been excellent for Finland so far.
Three Finns to watch
Although he has not yet scored for Finland, Valtteri Filppula has undoubtedly been their most important forward so far in the tournament. The former Detroit Red Wing has dominated the faceoff circle and won 17 of 24 faceoffs so far. He has also been a crucial part of Finland’s defensive game, as he has not yet been on the ice for a goal against.
Related: 2022 Men’s Olympic Hockey Team, Finland’s final list
It is only a matter of time before Filppula finds the back of the net, and Sweden wants to make sure that it is not against them. The last time the Finnish captain played against Sweden in the Olympics, his team was shutout 3-0, which cost them the top spot in Group C. Now, 12 years later, he will try to make sure that history does not repeat itself.
So far this tournament, Mikko Lehtonen has been Finland’s best defender. The former Toronto Maple Leaf is a team leader in the ice age and recorded five shots on goal in Finland’s first match against Latvia. He becomes a handful and a player Sweden must pay attention to when he has the puck on the offensive.
Säteri continues to shine for Finland as the former Florida Panther has a save percentage of 0.958 percent through its first two matches. Throughout his international career, he has been dominant and continues his strong form at the 2022 Olympics. If Sweden is to beat him, they must get pucks online and make life difficult for him, otherwise he will improve to 3-0 in his Olympic career.
Later Olympic history
- 1992: Finland 2 Sweden 2
- 1998: Finland 2 Sweden 1
- 2006: Sweden 3 Finland 2 (Gold Medal Game)
- 2010: Sweden 3 Finland 0
- 2014: Sweden 2 Finland 1
- 2018: Sweden 3 Finland 1
Throughout this tournament, Finland has watched as a more complete team than Sweden. They do not lean back on wires and can stay out of the box and not give opponents too many powerplays. This will be a tight match, but if Sweden can not generate more offensive, look for Finland to take the top spot in Group C.
Adam is excited to join The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work is also on https://www.area51sportsnetwork.com/ where he covers the Vancouver Giants in the Western Hockey League.