Published: Sun, September 25, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Lundqvist brilliant as Sweden advances to semifinals

Nathan MacKinnon, one of four No. 1 overall picks on the club, scored the victor at 4:11 of overtime just moments after North American goaltender John Gibson robbed Daniel Sedin on a breakaway.

In what was undoubtedly the best game of the tournament, North America edged Sweden in overtime, but the Swedes clinched Group B with the loser point.

(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP). Soderberg picked up an assist on the game-tying goal and had two shots, two hits and a minus-1 rating after 10:26 of play.

North America peppered Lundqvist with 49 shots while John Gibson faced 38 shots from Tre Kronor. This World Cup is different, though.

In holding the first World Cup since 2004, the league and players wanted a festival of hockey that showcased the its best players. The problem at the World Cup was that majority were playing for Team North America.

Team North America and the US are out, with Canada and Russian Federation meeting in one semifinal Saturday night and Sweden and Team Europe in the other Sunday afternoon. "All three games", Igor Larionov, the Hall of Fame center of the KLM line, told Friday.

"Myself, Dave Tippett, all the staff, we've been around a bit and we became fans there", McLellan said.

So you want to fix USA Hockey?

So did the speed and skill of the young guns carry them through to the medal round or did the more experienced Swedish team take care of business with the pressure on? Europe won people over by winning, beating the USA and the Czech Republic to advance. Outscoring the opposition 14-3 in those three games.

Team North America, a talent-laden squad dismissed by many as gimmicky when the tournament format was announced, got off to a dream start when American Auston Matthews cashed in a rebound 30 seconds into the game. "What are we going to do about that?"

Avalanche forward Matt Duchene found the scoresheet again on Wednesday, picking up a helper on the game-winning goal.

The World Cup achieved big-event status in Toronto, with a mostly full arena and buzz around the city. If you wanted rivalries, it could have been the youth and energy and brio of the 23-and-under kids versus the monolithic relentlessness of Team Canada.

"That's the beauty of live sports", Magnus said by phone Thursday. "So, we gave ourselves a chance".

Finland, to their credit, came out ready to play despite having nothing to play for. The puck was always going in when Team North America played, at one end or the other. The players are from Canada or the United States and are all under 24 years old.

The North Americans came out aggressive and almost won on a McDavid shot on the doorstep that Lundqvist fought off. As Canadian coach Mike Babcock said Thursday, no doubt Ryan Getzlaf's line is up next. That the North America players were unaware of any of this.

This North American team, we learned, can embarrass you.

Even more problematic is the thinning defense.

"We got some great guys on our team and there's still some great guys on that (U.S.) team, as well", Gostisbehere said Wednesday. "You need to accept that and we need to take the medicine". The roster included the last four No. 1 overall picks and five of the last six dating back to 2011. We're talking the same paragraph as Mario Lemieux's famous overtime goal up the QEW in Hamilton that won the 1987 Canada Cup or the legendary tie between the Canadiens and Central Red Army on New Year's Eve in 1975 at the Montreal Forum. "After that, we kind of realized how we have to play: smart (and) with a lot of patience, there's no flash to it". Wouldn't he benefit from being on the team where proven winners like Jonathan Toews, Drew Doughty, and Crosby could groom him for the pressure that he will one day face?

"He's been our MVP", forward Carl Hagelin said. You're right. But in this case, I think you'll agree I'm within bounds to pull for the greater good of the sport. It happened in the final minute of Monday's game against Russian Federation. "Everybody going to be insane".

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