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The Malik Report

Red Wings’ Alfredsson and the *other* Ericsson score in Sweden’s tight-fought win over Latvia

It wasn't pretty, but the Henrik Zetterberg-less (and Johan Franzen-less and Henrik Sedin-less) Swedish Olympic team managed to out-work Latvia, if only by a slim margin, and take a 5-3 decision in Sweden's last preliminary round game. Sweden scored 3 of its 4 goals on the power play.

Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist for Sweden, finishing at a -1 with 1 shot in 18:24 of ice time; Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson were solid in front of Henrik Lundqvist, with the Swedish captain (Kronwall) finishing at -1 in 21:26 of ice time and "Jonte" finishing at -1 in 16:14 of ice time; Gustav Nyquist was dressed as the 13th forward, regrettably, so he only played 5:27, but Jonathan's brother Jimmie had a spirited effort, scoring a goal, instigating physical play and going 4-and-2 on faceoffs in 11:17 of ice time.

The Swedes really played down to the perceived level of the Lativans--you know, like the Wings "play down" when they play the Panthers, for example--and as such, they nearly got their butts handed to them, but they won and kept their goal differential at an acceptable number, so the unbeaten Swedes (3-and-0) should end up winning Group C and earning a quarterfinal bye.

MLive's Brendan Savage took note of Alfredsson's exploits...

Detroit Red Wings forward Daniel Alfredsson scored for the second straight game Saturday as Sweden finished unbeaten in the preliminary round of the Winter Olympics hockey tournament with a 5-3 victory over Latvia in Sochi, Russia.

Alfredsson scored on a power play with 3:46 left in the second period to give Sweden a 3-2 lead it never relinquished. He one-timed a pass from the left faceoff circle with nine seconds left in Sweden's power play.

Four of Sweden's goals came on the power play. They came on four consecutive power-play shots.

Also scoring for the Swedes (3-0) were Patrik Berglund, Erik Karlsson, Jimmie Ericsson and Alexander Edler.

Though this is incorrect:

Red Wings goaltender Jonas Gustavsson sat behind Henrik Lundqvist, who made 20 saves for Sweden.

The AP's Larry Lage reported that Jimmy Howard was in the NHLPA suite at the Bolshoy rink during the U.S.-Russia game, and Jhonas Enroth backed up Lunqvist yet again, so Howard and Gustavsson have essentially served as suit-wearing caddies. I hope they're at least enjoying the experience--and hey, they won't get hurt! (cross your fingers)

Update: DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson penned a narrative recap:

It has no doubt been a memorable week for forward Jimmie Ericsson, who joined his younger brother and Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on Team Sweden, marking the first time the two have played together in their professional careers. After Sweden’s 5-3 victory over Latvia Saturday, Ericsson will have one more memorable moment to carry with him for years to come, as the forward’s first Olympic goal was also the game-winning goal as he helped his country finish unbeaten in the preliminary tournament.

"We know Lativa is a good team and if you make mistakes, they can come fast at you," Bruins forward Loui Eriksson told IIHF’s Slava Malamud. "It's been three games in four days, so we will take all the positives we can from the three wins and bring them to the quarterfinal."

It was a special teams show between the two countries, as six of the game’s eight goals were scored on the power play, one shy of the Olympic record for most power play goals in a single game. Sweden converted on all four of its one-man advantage opportunities.

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.