Karlsson scores twice as Sweden beats the Czech Republic

The Sports NetworkFebruary 12, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Erik Karlsson had two goals and Henrik Lundqvist notched 27 saves as Sweden opened Group C play in men's ice hockey with a 4-2 victory over the Czech Republic.

Patrik Berglund and Henrik Zetterberg added goals and Oliver Ekman-Larsson recorded a pair of assists for a Sweden club that raced out to a 4-0 lead. It was an impressive offensive showing for a team that won't have Henrik Sedin or Johan Franzen for the 2014 Sochi Games due to injury.

Lundqvist, meanwhile, improved to 8-2 lifetime in Olympic play. He went 2-1 with a 1.34 goals-against average for Sweden during the 2010 Vancouver Games.

Czech Republic coach Alois Hadamczik made the decision to not even dress NHL goaltender Ondrej Pavelec for the game, opting instead to go with Jakub Kovar. The move did not pay off as Kovar yielded three goals on 10 shots faced, getting lifted 51 seconds into the second period.

Alexander Salak made 14 saves in relief, while Marek Zidlicky and Jaromir Jagr had goals for the Czech Republic.

Karlsson opened the scoring during a delayed penalty call, firing a shot from the right point past Kovar with Daniel Alfredsson setting up a screen 10:07 into the contest.

Michal Barinka took a penalty for the Czech Republic less than a minute later and Berglund scored 17 seconds after the interference call ended. Berglund took a feed up the left side and settled the puck for a slap shot from the circle short side.

Less than a minute into the second period, Zetterberg threw a puck on net from the right circle that beat Kovar and chased him from the game.

Kovar entered play with a 1.91 GAA and .934 save percentage in 44 games with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg in the KHL this season. Pavelec is 18-22-4 with a 2.97 GAA and .901 save percentage with the Winnipeg Jets in 2013-14.

Karlsson's power-play goal, a laser one-timer from the point, came 4:07 into the second period and Sweden seemed to settle back for a while.

That allowed the Czech to get on the board with 11:48 left in the middle frame as Zidlicky took a drop pass and ripped a slap shot from the right circle past Lundqvist's glove side and Jagr's goal with 9:59 on the clock in the frame made it a two-goal game.

Jagr's shot got past Lundqvist, who had both teammate Niklas Kronwall and Czech Tomas Plekanec in his crease at the time, but the goal stood.

Lundqvist came up with 15 saves in the third period as the Czech Republic had nearly five minutes of power-play time it could not convert into a goal.

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