Landeskog, Sweden Face Swiss in Group C
SWEDEN vs. SWITZERLAND
When: Friday, 7:30 a.m. ET (NBCSN, TSN)
Where: Bolshoy Ice Dome
What's at stake: With each team coming off a win in its opener, the victor Friday is in the driver's seat to win Group C. For Sweden, that's pretty much what the expectation was heading into the 2014 Sochi Olympics, but Switzerland has an opportunity to put itself in control by pulling off the upset.
Sweden: Which group of Swedes will show up at Bolshoy Ice Dome for this game -- the one that steamrolled its way to a four-goal lead in the first 24:07 Wednesday against the Czech Republic, or the one that proceeded to give up a pair of quick goals in the second period and allow its opponent several chances to draw even closer by taking three penalties early in the third? Sweden escaped with a 4-2 win and could be without captain Henrik Zetterberg on Friday after a herniated disk in his back started acting up.
"We will [make the] decision [Friday] and see how he feels and how he adjusts to anti-inflammatory treatment and rest," team doctor Bjorn Waldenberg said.
Sweden scored five unanswered goals and recorded a 5-1 win over Switzerland to win gold at the 2013 IIHF World Championship. Henrik Sedin, who isn't in Sochi due to a rib injury, had two goals and an assist in that game. Loui Eriksson, who will play Friday, also scored for Sweden.
Switzerland: Improvement from the first game to the second will be even more necessary for the Swiss, which avoided a monumental upset to Latvia by getting a fortunate bounce on Simon Moser's goal with 7.9 seconds left in regulation. Goalie Jonas Hiller ended up having to be perfect and he was, making 21 saves on his 32nd birthday in a 1-0 win. Reto Berra will get the nod against Sweden.
"We've got two very good teams to come," defenseman Julien Vauclair told the IIHF website. "The Swedes and the Czechs are among the best in the world. But we showed some really aggressive hockey out there and we have a chance. Now we focus on Sweden and we'll try to win that game."
Switzerland generated 39 shots against Latvia, including several quality chances by Damien Brunner, but will have to do a better job of capitalizing against tougher opposition.
"I thought we played a pretty decent game but just couldn't find a way to put the puck in the back of the net," Hiller said. "The longer the game goes like that the tougher it gets. You start trying new things that don't always work and try to get too fancy. We'll take the three points and go from here."
What's next: Group C play ends Saturday with the teams all playing on consecutive days. Sweden will be a heavy favorite against Latvia, while Switzerland figures to have its hands full with the Czech Republic.