Hockey

Brandon Hicks - Sunday Feb. 23, 2014 09:19 ET

Canada beats Sweden 3-0 to win hockey gold

Dominating Canadian defence leads the way

Team Canada wins gold in Sochi
Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 in the gold medal game. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Canadian men’s hockey team took gold on the final day of the 2014 Olympics, defeating Sweden 3-0 in the gold medal game at the Bolshoy Ice Dome on Sunday.

Jonathan Toews, Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz scored Canada’s goals and the crushing defence did the rest, as goaltender Carey Price secured his second-straight shutout of the Olympics. All three forwards scored their first goals of the tournament in the gold medal game.

As the game wore on, Canada became more and more dominant, tiring out the Swedes with a relentless cycle game and stifling defensive play that was the hallmark of the 2014 Canadian Olympic team.

While everyone talked about the struggling Canadian offence, their defence quietly and efficiently smothered the rest of the world’s best forwards, shutting out the United States and Sweden in the final two games to take gold.

Canada gave up a mere three goals in six games and never trailed for the entire tournament.

“I think anyone knows the talent and ability this team has,” Toews told Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman. “A huge credit goes to our commitment to playing a team game and will to win.

“People were doubting whether we can scores goals in this tournament. It’s easy for a group like that to go press and try and create offence and get away from our game plan but we stuck with it every single night. [And] here we all are on top of the podium so it feels really good.”

Toews and Crosby also scored in the gold medal game of the Vancouver Olympics.

Canada became the first team in the NHL era of Olympic hockey to go undefeated through the entire tournament. The Canadians are also the first team in 26 years to defend the Olympic gold medal, and the only squad in the NHL era to do so.

Dominating third period

The Canadians outshot the Swedes 36-24, which included a dominant third period where Canada played most of the game in the Swedish end, holding a 13-4 shot advantage.

Many worried that Canada’s biggest obstacle would be Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, but the elite NHL netminder fought the puck for most of the game. He made 33 saves in the loss.

Price made 24 stops to secure the win for Canada, ending the Olympics on a shutout streak of 164 minutes, 19 seconds. He didn't allow a goal in over eight periods of play.

"Playing behind that group of guys was a lot of fun. That work ethic that those guys brought to the ice every day made my job easier," he told CBC.

Key injuries finally caught up to Sweden. They were missing Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen coming into the Olympics, and lost star Red Wing Henrik Zetterberg during the tournament.

It got worse for Sweden right before the opening puck drop, as the Swedes learned they’d also be without Niklas Backstrom for the gold medal game. The Minnesota forward was scratched right before the opening faceoff because he tested positive for a banned substance.

Both teams had chances to score in a nervous, tight opening 10 minutes. Sweden’s Gustav Nyquist cut in front of the Canadian net and hit the post four minutes into the game, and Patrice Bergeron rung one off the Swedish iron with nine minutes left.

Toews scored the opener with a little over seven minutes left, tipping a centering pass from Jeff Carter past Lundqvist to make it 1-0 for the Canadians, a lead they’d hold heading into the dressing room for the first intermission.

Toews also scored the opening goal of the gold medal game at the Vancouver Olympics at almost exactly the same time.

Canada carried the balance of play for most of the second, and Crosby broke through with over four minutes left to put a chokehold on the game for the Canadians.

The Pittsburgh captain created the goal all on his own, poke-checking Jonathan Ericsson at the Canadian blue-line to break in alone on Lundqvist. Crosby went to his backhand and slipped the puck past Lundqvist to make it 2-0 Canada heading into the third.

Kunitz put the game out of reach with 11 minutes left, wiring a shot in the top corner past Lundqvist.

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