Agree, before this match, the Canadians and Swedes were unlikely to seriously think about choosing a more suitable opponent in the playoffs. And given the fact that few believed in the victory of the Germans over the Czechs, the Russian team was not the best option for Canada and Sweden. But, first of all, teams that are confident in their own abilities have long ceased to play giveaway. Secondly, if the Canadians decided to "merge" this game, then at home no one would understand them. Therefore, Ken Hitchcock and Paul Morts viewed this fight primarily as preparation for the quarterfinals, and who would be their rival there, faded into the background.
True, no one was going to win at any cost. So, the mentor of the “maple leaves” did not strain his main goalkeeper James Reimer, letting Jonathan Bernier play. As for the Swedes, even a few hours before the start of the game, it became known that one of the leading defenders, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who received a slight injury in the game against the Swiss national team, would not play for them. The goalkeeper Viktor Fast also got a respite, who has already had three clean sheets in this tournament. His place was taken by Eric Ersberg, who first went out on the ice after a nightmare fight with the Norwegians at the start of the tournament.
But the match with the Canadians started again in a bad way for the Gagarin Cup winner. Already in the second minute, James Neal won a one-on-one duel against Ersberg, directing the puck between the legs of the poor goalkeeper of the Swedes. It seemed that Ersberg at that moment uttered the Russian words that he had been taught in Ufa. It helped. In the future, Eric saved his team more than once.
In the end, everything was decided by the removal of Niklas Persson eight minutes before the end of the third period. The Canadians seized their chance. Burns charged from the blue line and ricocheted from Nash, the puck flew into the net of the Swedish goal. The final assault did not work. Three deletions from the Tre Kronur side allowed the Maple Leaves to calmly bring the case to victory.
Thus, Ken Hitchcock and his guys do not yet know failures in Slovakia. But ahead of the quarterfinals, and there the Canadians will have to fight with the Russian national team. The founders of hockey paved the way to our guys with their own hands. You can even say that their captain Rick Nash chose Russia for his team.