The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/22/14 at 04:21 PM ET
Team Sweden managed to rally from a 2-1 deficit and defeat the pesky Belarussians (despite 2 goals from Belarus "native" Geoff Platt and superb goaltending from Kevin Lalonde), winning 3-2 against the team that defeated Sweden so infamously during the 2002 Olympics, and advancing to Saturday's Semifinal vs. Russia (at 7:45 AM EDT; Jakub Kindl's Czechs will battle Finland at 11:45)...
And while Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist was named Sweden's Best Player (Sergei Kostitsyn was named Belarus's Best Player, so the BP-picker may have been drinking some Belarusian beer, but hey, Nyquist gets a nice atch), he may have been Sweden's best defensive forward, not its best offensive player. Nyquist was dangerous offensively, playing his give-and-go game to perfection, and he backchecked like nobody's business...
But Jimmie Ericsson (they pronounce it "Yimmie" in Sweden) screened Lalonde on the 1-1 goal and tipped in the 2-2 goal, Mattias Ekholm scored a gorgeous wraparound game-winner with 7:39 left, just after taking a dim penalty which required goaltender Anders Nilsson to make a game-saving penalty shot stop, and Ekholm had an assist on the 1-0 goal, too.
In the end, Nyquist (fun fact: the Swedes pronounce it NEEquist, we of cours pronounce it NIGHquist, and the IIHF insists that the correct pronunciation ins NUUquist, but the Wings don't call him "Gus" or "Goose," they call him "Nikey"; Nyquist also had 2 shots and finished even in 15:44 of ice time) doesn't have to score goals in every game to make a difference; he has to play well, and Nyquist worked hard at both ends of the ice, and everywhere in between. That's what counts in "playoff hockey," whether we're talking about 7-game elimination or single-game elimination, and after finding his stride 3 games into the tournament, Nyquist's "brought it" every night.
Update: IIHF.com's John Sanful's recap now includes quotes:
With 8:19 remaining, Ekholm’s breakout pass was intercepted by Kalyuzhny who skated in on goal but was obstructed by Ekholm. A penalty shot was awarded. Kalyuzhny started slow and moved in on net with a meek shot that went softly off Nilsson’s stick.
"That save is a game-changing save." Gustav Nyquist said. "Our goalie felt confident that he would save that shot, and wen he did and we came back and scored two shifts later."
If the play put Ekholm in Per Marts doghouse, he redeemed himself 57 seconds later when he scored an unassisted goal, skating around the net and wrapping around a shot that found its way in.
It was a gallant effort by Belarus and they played some of their best World Championship hockey to date.
Sweden will now play Russia in the semi-finals hoping to advance to the gold medal game again.
"They have those two superstars of course, but also a great team." Nyquist said of Russia. "But we're good too and have shown what we can do. It'll be a tight game. The results in the quarter-finals today goes to show that any team of the four remaining can win this at the end."
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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.