Sat, Nov 13, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Sweden edges out Russia as hockey's Karjala Cup starts

AP , STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Henrik Zetterberg tipped in a shot for Sweden to beat Russia 2-1 and the Czech Republic blanked defending European Hockey Tour champion Finland 3-0 in Karjala Cup openers on Thursday.

Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks set up the Swedes' game-winner early in the third period at Linkoping, taking a shot that Zetterberg steered past Russian goalie Maxim Sokolov.

"I was lucky ... I wasn't sure if it was the puck that hit my stick, but it was something, and it was a goal," said Zetterberg, a Detroit Red Wings star who's playing with Timra in the Swedish Elite League during the NHL lockout.

"It was a nice win. I think we played very well overall, with speed and enthusiasm all over the rink."

Magnus Kahnberg scored the other goal late in the first period for Sweden, which played its first competitive game under a new coaching staff led by Bengt-Ake Gustafsson. Former coach Hardy Nilsson, who guided Sweden to the last two world championship finals against Canada, was fired after the Swedes were upset by the Czech Republic in the World Cup of Hockey quarterfinals in September.

Sweden has a majority of NHL players on its roster for the Karjala Cup, but the biggest star was missing. Peter Forsberg, a seven-time NHL All-Star and former NHL MVP, declined to play, citing fatigue.

Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, the top pick in the NHL draft, scored Russia's lone goal with 59 seconds left in the second period, beating Swedish goalie Henrik Lundqvist with a volley off his stick.

Pavel Rosa, Ales Hemsky and Radek Dvorak scored for the Czech Republic against Finland in Helsinki. Goalie Adam Svoboda had 31 saves for the shutout.

Finland failed to score for the first time in its home tournament, in its 22nd game. The Karjala Cup is part of the Euro Hockey Tour, which pits the top four European national teams against each other.

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