Winter Olympics hockey results: Karlsson's pair pushes Sweden past Czech Republic

Martin Rose

Erik Karlsson was an instrumental a part in Sweden's offense, and the Swedes downed the Czech Republic 4-2 in the team's Olympic opener.

SB Nation 2014 Winter Olympic Coverage

Erik Karlsson has no problem scoring against NHL goaltenders. So when the Czech Republic trotted out two goaltenders—one from the Czech league and one from the KHL—Karlsson did what's made him so successful in his five-year professional career: he scored.

The Senators defenseman tallied two goals, and Sweden jumped out to a four-goal lead before holding on to beat the Czech Republic 4-2 in the team's opening game of the tournament.

On the game's first goal, Martin Erat tripped Karlsson in the Sweden zone. With an extra skater on the ice for the delayed penalty, the Swedes worked the puck around the zone, before a point shot from Karlsson eluded Czech goalie Jakub Kovar to make it 1-0 Sweden.

The Swedes would stay on the offensive, and double its lead just over three minutes later. Patrik Berglund took the puck toward the net on the rush, and beat Kovar on the short-side to make it 2-0 through one period of play.

With the Czech Republic still on its heels, Henrik Zetterberg made it a 3-0 game when he curled out from behind the net just 51 seconds into the second period, and fired a seeing-eye-shot that found the twine.

The goal would chase Jakub Kovar, with the Czech's electing to put in Alexander Salak.

Things wouldn't get better immediately for the Czech Repbulic though, as Karlsson scored his second of the day—this one on the power play—to give Sweden its largest lead of the day at 4-0.

The Czech Republic would finally build some momentum, and crack Henrik Lundqvist. Marek Zidlicky took a drop-pass off the rush from Devils teammate Patrik Elias, and fired a slapper past the screened Lundqvist to break the shutout.

The Czechs would get one goal closer, as another New Jersey Devil was able to beat Ludnqvist. With Tomas Plekanec planted on top of the crease, Jarmoir Jagr was able to muscle the puck with one hand past Lundqvist a screened to cut the deficit to 4-2.

That would be as close as the Czech Republic would get, however, as Lundqvist would turn aside 27 shots in total en route to the win.

Both Karlsson and fellow defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had strong games for the Swedes, as the puck-moving defenseman took advantage of the larger ice surface, and were both influential on the offensive side of the puck. Ekman-Larsson had two assists, and the pair combined for four points, and a plus-for rating.

The team's will be back in action Friday with Sweden matching up against Switzerland, and the Czech Republic against Latvia.

More on the Winter Olympics:

SB Nation's Winter Olympics medal tracker | Meet Team USA

Shaun White fails to capture gold | Americans stumble in curling

What you need to know about curling | Bobsled, luge and skeleton

Miracle Put on Ice: 1984 US hockey team never had a chance

Hockey: Men’s schedule | All 12 men’s rosters | USA roster analysis

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