The Swedish play a methodical, confident style of hockey. They don't panic, they don't rush, they don't force plays that aren't there. They possess the puck, make their opponent skate around, then they use their high skill level and speed to make things happen. That's what they did to Slovenia, winning 5-0 to advance to the semifinals.
Even though the Swedes were an overwhelming favorite against Slovenia, this was a 0-0 game for almost the entire first period. It was a 1-0 game until early in the 3rd. The Swedes didn't score much for 40 minutes, but they were dictating the entire 60 minutes of this game. Slovenia had a handful of chances, but Henrik Lundqvist stopped them all. Lundqvist is another reason the Swedes can play with such patience and composure.
Alex Steen scored a power play goal in the 1st to put Sweden up 1-0. Then in the 3rd the Swedes broke the game open as the Slovenians looked exhausted. Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins set up Daniel Sedin to make it 2-0. Then Eriksson scored himself. Carl Hagelin scored the last two goals to make it 5-0. Erik Karlsson had an assist on Sweden's first goal and their last goal.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 19 shots and recorded his second shutout of the Olympics. He's allowed 5 goals in 4 games and of the goalies on the four teams still standing, he's played the best at Sochi.
The Swedes will play Finland Friday morning at 6:30 (Eastern) on NBC Sports. This is a rematch of the 2006 gold medal game in Torino. Sweden won that game 3-2, and I think you'll see a similar result Friday.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez