It is now February so New York Rangers starting goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is, for the time being, the starting goalie for the Swedish men’s hockey team for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Sweden‘s first game, in their quest to win gold, was early yesterday morning–if you live in North America–against team Czech Republic. The Czech Republic might not be a medal contender this Olympics, but they still have a very underrated team that can beat anyone they face if you do not take them seriously, and even in the preliminary rounds, Sweden cannot afford to do that since they are honed in on winning a gold medal.
Whether these teams end up meeting in the medal rounds, I do not know, but in their first preliminary matchup it was Lundqvist and Sweden who set the tone with a 4-2 win. Just like winning a Stanley Cup, it is so important to have a goaltender in top form between the pipes if you want to win a gold medal, and having Lundqvist on your side is a huge plus.
In Lundqvist’s first game for team Sweden in the 2014 Winter Olympics, he played very solid, saving 27 of 29 shots. What I found to be the most ironic about this game was the fact that both goal scorers for the Czech Republic were ex-Rangers that Lundqvist has played with, whether in the preseason, regular season or postseason.
I guess being familiar with Lundqvist’s style of play, it is no surprise that the two goal scorers for the Czech Republic were none other than old friends Jaromir Jagr and Petr Nedved.
All in all, I am sure Lundqvist can have a good chuckle about it now since his team won. Hopefully for he and Sweden, this game and allowing two goals to ex-teammates can just be the first of many great memories in their quest for their second gold medal in the last three Winter Olympics.