Nicky celebrates his apple. (Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Washington Capitals forwards Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson will play for a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics. Team Sweden defeated Teemu Selanne and Team Finland 2-1 early on Friday morning (our time) to earn the right. Erik Karlsson scored the game-winning goal and Henrik Lundqvist made 25 saves.
While Johansson played only ten minutes and didn’t have much impact on the game, Backstrom certainly did – winning an insane 85% of his face-offs (16 of 19) and assisting on Sweden’s first goal of the night.
In the second period with the Swedes trailing the Finns 1-0, Backstrom took the puck in the corner and used that signature vision of his to find defenseman Jonathan Ericsson with a beautiful pass at the point. Ericsson wound up, kinda faked a shot, and then dished to forward Loui Eriksson (no relation, even weirder spelling) in the slot. Lay-up goal.
With his four assists in five games, Backstrom is tied with Karlsson for the team lead in assists (4) and is tied for third in points.
This is the third time Sweden will play for Olympic gold since 1994. They will play the winner of USA/Canada later today.
A few more GIFs.
Here’s Karlsson’s game winner.
And the celebration.