Nicky celebrates his apple. (Photo: Andre Ringuette/HHOF-IIHF Images)
Backstrom (right) plays some pre-game soccer.
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.
Caps Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson and the rest of Team Sweden were busy on their day off. On Monday, the players traveled to the neighboring mountains in Krasnaya Polyana to watch Sweden win the Cross-Country men’s relay.
This is the first time Johansson has represented his country in international competition since he was named captain of the Swedish World Junior Championship team in 2010. Johansson also played on the WJC team in 2009 and the U18 team in 2008 and 2007.
Washington Capitals 2013 first round pick Andre Burakovsky was fantastic in the 2014 World Junior Championships. The 18-year-old was a point per game player for Team Sweden, scoring three goals and tallying seven points in seven tournament games.
Ever since Malmo, Sweden was named host of the 2014 World Junior Championship several years ago, Swedish prospects have circled this date on their calendars, hoping they could win gold in front of their countrymen. Those are huge expectations for teenagers to bear.
On Sunday, Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos felt the stinging heartbreak that comes with those expectations being crushed in front of their hometown fans, losing in overtime of the title game. Sweden, which was arguably the most talented team in the tournament, fell to Finland in sudden death after Rasmus Ristolainen took the puck hard to the net and scored.
Many players on Team Sweden openly wept after the buzzer including team captain and former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg, who was traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta during last year’s trade deadline, was named MVP of the tournament and also to the tournament All-Star team. Though, judging by the photos, it did little to console him.
Andre Burakovsky rushes the puck up the ice. (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)
In the gold medal game of the 2014 World Juniors, Team Sweden faced Team Finland. As the favourites and the hosts, the Swedes probably didn’t expect a cakewalk against arch-rivals Finland, who had embarrassed Canada in the semifinals, but what happened next may have surprised even the Finnish fans.
Suomi kicked the game off with a shocker just 28 seconds in, Esa Lindell opened the scoring. Tre Kronor were increasing the pressure, but it took them more than 25 minutes to tie on a goal by Lucas Wallmark. Not even a minute later, Finland came right back with a goal of their own on a great set up by Teuvo Teravainen, Saku Maenalanen beat Oskar Dansk. The Sweden again took the full control of the game, but had problems finding the net. With only nine minutes to go, a powerplay bomb by Capitals prospect Christian Djoos tied the game and forced overtime.