Out of gas. After roaring through their first five games at the 2014 Winter Games, the Tre Kronor finally ran out of energy – and players – as they lost in the men’s hockey final 3-0 to Canada.
Team Canada and Sweden went into the final as the only teams with only wins in their first five games. The Swedes were the top seeds thanks to five regulation-time wins. The Canadians needed an overtime win over Team USA to advance to the finals.
Nevertheless, all in all a worthy ending of a successful Winter Olympics in Sochi for Sweden: Medals and medal hopefuls, summary
The real difference between the two hockey teams was depth. Canada had it and Sweden didn’t. The Swedes went into the tournament shorthanded as Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzén pulled out of the Olympics due to injuries while team captain Henrik Zetterberg suffered a herniated disk in the Swedes' opening match against the Czech Republic and missed the remainder of the tournament. Sweden lost its fourth star player hours before the final when the International Olympic Committee suspended Niklas Bäckström for testing positive for a banned substance.
The controversial ruling had the Swedes reeling even before the game started. “Bäckström is a good player. He means a lot to this team,” said forward Gustav Nyquist.
Bäckström tested positive for pseudoephedrine, an ingredient in Zyrtac D, an allergy medication the Washington Capitol forward uses regularly and which he said he listed on his Olympic medication information form.

Six against one?
When the puck dropped, it quickly became clear the game would come down to a test not between Canada and Sweden but between the Canadians and Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist. Canada completely controlled the game, throwing 33 shots at Lundqvist. The Swedes were unable to answer. The Canadian defense keep the area in front of goalie Carey Price clear of yellow jerseys as Sweden managed 24 shots, most of them one-time shots with no follow up. The closest Sweden came to scoring was in the opening minutes when Nyquist rang a shot off the post.
Canada went ahead nearly 13 minutes into the first period when Jeff Carter threw a quick pass in front to Jonathan Toews, who nimbly held off Patrik Berglund and deflected it underneath Lundqvist for the Chicago captain's first goal of the tournament. Toews also scored Canada's first goal in the gold-medal game in Vancouver four years ago.
Late in the second period, Sidney Crosby scored after taking the puck away from Jonathan Ericsson at the Canada blue line. Loui Eriksson couldn't catch Canada's captain as he skated in on Lundqvist for a textbook-quality deke and a backhand past the Swedish goalie's sprawled toe.
Chris Kunitz scored Canada’s third goal at 9:04 of the third period, putting game out of reach for the Swedes.


"The better team won.."
“It’s a big disappointment, obviously, being this close to a gold medal,” Lundqvist said. “But I think Canada definitely deserved to win tonight. They were the better team.”
Sweden’s lack of depth of center was clear right from the opening whistle. Zetterberg, Henrikl Sedin and Franzen are among the top centers in the world and young Jimmie Ericsson, who was only Swedish Hockey League player on the team, simply wasn’t up to the task of replacing them. Ericsson lost all six faceoffs he took in the first period. Lundqvist, however, refused to use the missing stars as an excuse for the loss.
“Well, I think all the countries were missing guys,” Lundqvist said. “Of course, we had some big guys missing, but so did all the other countries.”
As the game wore on, the Swedes appeared to be skating uphill as they tried to keep up with Canada’s speedy forwards and aggressive defense. Allowing just three goals in six victories in Sochi, Canada became the only repeat Olympic champ in the NHL era and the first team to go unbeaten through the Olympic tournament since the Soviet Union in Sarajevo in 1984.
Sweden coach Pär Mårts was more outspoken about Bäckström's suspension, saying it had a deep impact on his teammates. Mårts called International Olympic Committee handling of Bäckström's case a "scandal.”
“I think we ought to have the right conditions to fight with Canada, we did not today,” Mårts said.

By Chipp Reid