SOCHI, Russia — Daniel Alfredsson scored off a rebound with 7:21 left and Henrik Lundqvist had a 26-save shutout today, lifting short-handed Sweden to a 1-0 win over Switzerland at the Olympics.
The Swedes (2-0) moved into a favorable position to earn a spot in the quarterfinals as the only undefeated team in Group C. With a victory over winless Latvia on Saturday, they would be among the final eight in the 12-nation tournament.
The Swiss (1-1) may have to win in the qualification round to reach the quarterfinals even if they beat the Jaromir Jagr-led Czech Republic on Saturday.
Sweden announced before the game that captain Henrik Zetterberg will miss the rest of the tournament because of a herniated disk, taking a third key player off their roster.
The Swedes were medal favorites a month ago, but since then the 2006 Olympic champions have lost three of their best forwards due to injuries: Zetterberg, Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen.
Lundqvist, their three-time Olympian goaltender, still gives them a chance to win any game.
And having five-time Olympian Alfredsson on the ice helps Sweden as well.
The 41-year-old forward skated hard down the ice on the game-winning goal to put himself in the right position to score easily off a rebound created by Erik Karlsson’s shot.
Swiss forward Roman Wick didn’t aggressively backcheck to keep Alfredsson away from the front of the net after defenseman Raphael Diaz pushed forward Alexander Steen off to the right side.
Swiss goalie Reto Berra stopped 30 shots and got some help from his left post in the second period when Alfredsson drew iron on a shot. Berra started in place of Jonas Hiller, who likely will play when Switzerland enters the elimination part of the tournament.
In the second contest for both teams, the Swiss got off to a strong start. They outshot Sweden 13-5 in the first and didn’t have anything to show for it after the scoreless period.
Sweden bounced back with a better second period with almost twice as many shots as the Swiss in the period, but it was still scoreless.
In the end, the Swedes were rewarded for skating hard, tipping in a shot and making saves.