Sweden and Finland play in the first leg of competition on Tuesday night in a battle of two bitter rivals that are coming off two very different results.
The Swedes head into their second game of round robin play looking to book their ticket to the knockout stage after taking down Russia in their first game and what better way to do so than against their bitter rivals from Finland who will be out for blood after getting waxed by the young North Americans in their debut. Sweden has one of the best defensive units in the tournament and is certainly the strength of their team and it is expected that Henrik Lundqvist will be back in the cage for this one which is even better news for a team that played very well in their own end against the high octane offense of Russia. Sweden does have a ton of weapons in the offensive zone as well as guys like Gabriel Landeskog, Nicklas Backstrom, and Filip Forsberg are on the roster and the reliable Sedin’s are there as well which provides a ton of depth to this Swedish roster which should be the difference between them and Finland here.
The Finns are tough here as they face another tough opponent in Sweden here and if they go down 0-2 through the first two round robin games they can basically pack their bags to go home as it will likely spell the end of their quest for the podium. Finland is looking to build off of their bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics but they looked rusty in their tournament debut against the speedy, and highly talented North American side and they get even more of it here against the Sochi silver medallists from Sweden whose state of their men’s senior team is a little better right now. This game is going to be fierce as both teams hate each other but the Finns really shot themselves in the foot against North America in their opener and with Lundqvist back I think Sweden becomes even tougher to beat as they should have no issues getting a multi-goal win here at a nice price.