TORONTO (AP) – The old Henrik Lundqvist was back in the net for Sweden.
The 34-year-old Lundqvist made 36 saves to help Sweden beat Finland 2-0 in the World Cup of Hockey Jerseys on Tuesday.
“We were confident with him coming today, even after Jacob (Markstrom) played as good as it did (Sunday) game,” said captain Henrik Sedin Swedish. “Being close to Henrik for a few weeks now, we knew it was coming and have a great game.”
Anton Stralman and Loui Eriksson scored the Swedes (2-0-0) has a firm grip on the top spot in Group B. Finland (0-2-0) faces long odds to advance to the semifinals.
Lundqvist, the first match of the tournament in Sweden was lost due to illness, struggled in the competition prior to the tournament, posting a 4.49 goals against average and a .778 save percentage in two appearances. Rangers goalkeeper was removed from the game last Wednesday against the team in Europe after allowing five goals on 22 shots in a 6-2 loss.
“I felt very rusty out there the first period, not as conscious as I wanted to be, but I got very good help with some loose disks and stuff like that,” Lundqvist said. “Second and third, I felt more comfortable, but it was fun. I really enjoyed being there playing. Big game, big game, not being able to play the first, you never know where it’s going when it is not healthy. ”
Tuukka Rask, from the Finnish Pekka Rinne’s goal, stopped 27 shots.
“We played a great game, started well, created many good chances, but we did not score,” said Finnish coach Lauri Marjamäki. “Of course the goalie Lundqvist was impressive. But so proud of my players and our team effort. It was very well today. But it is not enough.”
The Finnish Mikael Granlund had two excellent scoring chances just after the halfway mark of the third, but Lundqvist got his platform right at the first shot and Granlund put his rebound off the post.
The confrontation was physical in the third when Finland’s Sami Lepisto caught Mikael Backlund of Sweden with a questionable high hit just inside the blue line in Sweden with just over nine minutes to play. Lepisto a minor penalty for roughing was assessed, while Backlund was treated at Swedish bank.
“It was a shoulder hit in the head, or into the nose,” said Sweden coach Rikard Grønborg. “I know he was bleeding a little (of) his nose.”
Sweden led 1-0 after two periods. Stralman, a defender of the Tampa Bay Lightning, power put a backhand past Rask Sedin at 9:57 of the middle period.
The Finn Patrik Laine had a strong chance of scoring in the last minute of the second, but Lundqvist was able to get his glove on a timer Laine.
Each Finnish player had only one shot on target. Laine, a first-round by the Winnipeg Jets, head with five.
“We have had many good chances, but I was playing unbelievable in the network,” Laine said.
Sweden concludes the preliminary on Wednesday against Team North America Hockey Jersey, Russia and Finland meets on Thursday round.