Sweden looks to continue its early tournament dominance as they face off against the Swiss in a pivotal matchup on Friday.
Sweden came into the tournament as one of the co-favourites along with Canada and the United States but after one of their most crucial roster spots opened up thanks to an injury to Henrik Sedin many thought it was the end of a possible Swedish gold. However, they came to play in their tournament opener as they wallpapered the Czechs in what was a more dominating effort than the final score indicated and now have an opportunity to basically seal the group with a victory here over Switzerland. Sweden is loaded up front but their strength comes on the blue line and in goal as Erik Karlsson and Oliver Ekman-Larsson anchor what is possibly the best offensive defense pairing in the tournament and Henrik Lundqvist is world class between the pipes. This should be a great game between the two favourites in this pool but the oddsmakers have the Swedes as pretty heavy favourites in this game.
Switzerland as mentioned came into the tournament as the dark horse team everyone was talking about as they finished in second place in last year’s World Championships and have more NHL players than ever before. Jonas Hiller has been brilliant in the Anaheim goal this season and he carried that success over to game one of the tournament as he blanked the Latvians but will certainly have a lot more to contend with in this spot. While Switzerland is a nice story and always seem to give the better teams fits I just don’t see how they match up here with a strong Sweden bunch. Switzerland couldn’t get anything going offensively against Latvia so imagine what is going to happen against the Swedish blue line and goaltending and I just think the Swedes will be too much in every facet here for the Swiss to even get a sniff. I think Sweden rolls here and that’s my suggestion when laying it down.