The good and the bad news for Sweden's opponent in the world junior championship gold-medal game is the Tre Kronor was outplayed in Saturday's semifinal.
It's good in that Sweden, which survived 2-1 against Russia, betrayed a certain vulnerability for the first time in the tournament but bad in that it found a way despite having the run of play for maybe about 10 of the 60 minutes at the Malmo Arena. Russia, which fought fiercely only to suffer a one-goal elimination loss to Sweden for the third consecutive world junior, was flat-out the stronger team.
The hosts, who got a 26-save effort from Oscar Dansk, nursed a power-play goal from captain Filip Forsberg to a 1-0 lead through forty minutes. The critical moment, though, came early in the third.
Russia started the third with 3:54 of extended power-play time thanks to Carolina Hurricanes rookie Elias Lindholm's high-sticking double minor late in the second period. Sweden dug in, though, keeping Russia to one harmless shot during the man advantage.
Following the Swedes' return to full strength, Erik Karlsson sent a lead pass that was intended for Filip Sandberg, who was crossing through the neutral zone. The puck sailed by Sandberg and the three crossed-up Russian defenders who were converging on him and went directly to Oscar Sundqvist, gifting him with a breakaway. The Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick beat Russia goalie Andrei Vasilevski in seemingly the only way possible, skating in alone and going top shelf with a backhand.
That gave Sweden just enough cushion, as Damir Zhafyarov scored fewer than two minutes later to keep Russia in the hunt. Edmonton Oilers pick Anton Slepyshev also hit the goal post in the second period.
Vasilevski stopped 19-of-21 shots for Russia. The Tampa Bay Lightning first-round pick has been involved in four losses to Sweden over the last three world junior championships, while going 10-0 with a 1.55 average and .956 save percentage against the rest of the world.
With the win, Sweden will go for its second gold in three seasons on home ice on Sunday (TSN/RDS, 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT) vs. the Canada-Finland victor.
Russia will play the loser of the second semifinal for the bronze medal (TSN/RDS, 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT).
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to email@example.com.