World Juniors

Swedes Beat Russia 1-0 In OT For WJC Gold

Thursday, 01.5.2012 / 11:00 PM ET / World Juniors
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Swedes Beat Russia 1-0 In OT For WJC Gold
CALGARY -- Two nations known for scintillating offenses and gifted playmakers -- Russia and Sweden -- showed what it takes to win the big one on Thursday in the gold medal game of the World Junior Championship before 18,722 at Scotiabank Saddledome.
 
Oh, what a feeling to have superior goaltending.
 
On the biggest stage of their junior hockey careers and before an energetic capacity crowd, Russian goalie Andrei Makarov and Sweden's Johan Gustafsson put on a clinic. In the process, they put everyone in attendance on the edge of their seat.
 
After more than 70 minutes of scoreless hockey, Sweden's Mika Zibanejad scored 10:09 into overtime to give his country a 1-0 triumph and its first WJC gold medal in 31 years. Zibanejad, picked by the Ottawa Senators with the sixth selection in last June's NHL Draft, picked up a loose puck near the red line, drove hard down the right wing, along the wall, before curling around a defenseman, cutting to the middle and lifting a picturesque backhand over Makarov to send his team and an entire country into a frenzy.
 
It was the only one of Sweden's 58 shots to beat Makarov. Gustafsson, who was barely tested in the first 40 minutes, was sharp in the third period and OT, finishing with 17 saves.

The triumph enables Tre Kronor to celebrate its first gold medal at the WJC since 1981. The country settled for silver in 2008 and '09 and claimed bronze in 2010. The Swedes had met the Soviet Union three times in the gold medal match -- 1978, '89 and '92 -- and lost all three contests.

Russia had its best chance with 32 seconds remaining in regulation when captain Yevgeny Kuznetsov skated into the left circle between two defenders before dealing a spinorama pass off his backhand feed to Nikita Gusev in the slot. The puck hit Gusev's blade but Gustafsson somehow made the save to keep the game scoreless.
 
In the overtime, Rickard Rakell had the first good opportunity off a blast from between the circles that Makarov snapped up with his left glove.
 
To say the Swedes dictated the pace of the game would be an understatement. The Swedes held a 17-3 advantage in shots in the first and a 22-1 advantage in the second. The Russians finally managed some push to the cage in the third, outshooting the Swedes 12-11.
 
Makarov's best stop might have come four minutes into the third when Rickard broke in one-on-one and was stopped before crashing into the goalie. Makarov remained on the ice for about a half-minute to regain his composure before continuing.
 
Gustafsson didn't get as many shots as his counterpart, but was certainly up to challenge when the Russians did force the issue. Kuznetsov almost slipped one home on a right-circle whistler that Gustafsson stopped before the puck trickled behind him and just wide of the left post. Zibanejad had a good look from the left circle on the power-play with less than seven minutes on the clock but Makarov went to his knees to deny the attempt.
 
Makarov had started just one game -- a 31-save, 3-1 victory over Slovakia -- prior to Thursday's nod. But after his scoreless relief performance in Tuesday's 6-5 semifinal win against Canada, he got the call in the title game.

Author: Mike G. Morreale | NHL.com Staff Writer

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 79 27 39 23 66
J. Jokinen 81 18 42 25 60
A. Barkov 66 28 31 18 59
J. Huberdeau 76 20 39 17 59
V. Trocheck 76 25 28 15 53
R. Smith 82 25 25 19 50
A. Ekblad 78 15 21 18 36
N. Bjugstad 67 15 19 -8 34
B. Campbell 82 6 25 31 31
B. Pirri 52 11 13 -4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 35 19 6 .922 2.35
A. Montoya 12 7 3 .919 2.18

 
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