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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sedins say Swedes underdogs today

Twins claim Canada has superior lineup

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Sweden forwards Henrik and Daniel Sedin insist their country isn't the favourite to win today's IIHF World Hockey Championship quarter-final against Canada.

"I think we should be the underdogs," Daniel Sedin said Wednesday in Stockholm.

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Canada vs. Sweden, 1:15 p.m., TSN

"You look at Canada's lineup. It's pretty impressive.

"They have a lot of firepower. They are probably the favourites tomorrow so we've got go in and have fun and hopefully we can play tight defensively."

Added Henrik: "I think if people look at our lineups, they should be the favourites."

Canada shut out Sweden 3-0 in the preliminary round last week, but that was before the Sedins and defenceman Alex Edler arrived from the Vancouver Canucks.

They played their first game for the host country Monday in a 4-2 win over Denmark. The twin brothers each had a goal and an assist in the game as Sweden (5-2) concluded the round robin third in their pool.

The Sedins, 32, have each won the NHL's Art Ross trophy for the most points in season in their careers. Their talent and skill is a boon to the Swedes, who opened the tournament with a loss to Switzerland and struggled to produce goals in some games of the preliminary round.

"They add a lot of confidence to our team," Swedish forward Gabriel Landeskog said. "We know that they're big offensive guys as well.

"They can protect the puck down low and especially on the power play, they know what they're doing. Mostly what they bring to our team is confidence. No one wants to be worse than that line, so we want to try to keep up with them and that adds some swagger to our team."

Edler contributed an assist in the game against Denmark. The three men all logged over 23 minutes of ice time.

The Canucks were swept in the first round of NHL playoffs in four games by the San Jose Sharks with that series ending May 7. The opportunity to play for their country at home and the NHL's lockout-shortened season prompted the Sedins to board a plan for Stockholm.

"We've only played 48 games this year," Henrik Sedin pointed out.

"Four in the playoffs. Mentally, we were prepared to play hockey into June and we got a chance to come over here.

"It didn't feel like we were tired so we got a chance to come back and it was a good fit for us."

Canada (5-1-1-0) finished second in the pool. Canadian teams have lost in the quarter-finals of the last three world championship, so the Sedins heaped pressure on them by saying Canada is expected to win toay.

But Henrik Sedin says there's pressure on the home team too. Sweden won its last world title in 2006 which was the same year the country won Olympic gold in men's hockey in Turin, Italy.

"There's always pressure," he said.

"That's the way it should be if you play for Team Sweden. It's something we're used to playing with in Vancouver so it's nothing new for us.

"It's been tough for the guys that have been here I think to play these games where it's must-wins and 'you should beat them easily.' I think that's been tough for them."

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 16, 2013 D3

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