Canada going for world gold
Heatley's goal starts Canada on way to 5-4 win over Sweden in semifinal
QUEBEC — It doesn't get much better than this.
The top line delivered another huge performance Friday as Canada beat Sweden 5-4 to set up a gold medal game with Russia at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Dany Heatley of the Ottawa Senators, Ryan Getzlaf and Rick Nash each scored in the semifinal victory to continue their torrid pace at this tournament. They've been far too much for any opponent to handle and have combined for 20 goals in eight games.
Jamal Mayers and Mike Green also scored for Canada, which has won 17 straight world championship games and is one victory away from repeating as champions.
Anton Stralman, with two, Niclas Wallin and Fredrik Warg replied for Sweden.
The Swedes will play Finland for the bronze medal on Saturday while the Canadians and Russians will battle for gold on Sunday (1 p.m., TSN, Team 1200).
It's only fitting as the longtime rivals have been the two most dominant forces at this tournament and have each gone undefeated so far.
"You're going to see one hell of a hockey game," Finnish coach Doug Shedden said after a 4-0 loss to Russia in the other semifinal. "There's no clear winner."
Few teams have played Canada as tough as the Swedes over the past 15 years. They had beaten Canada in seven of 15 world championship games heading in.
This game was at times played at a breathtaking pace, with the teams trading offensive chances and showing their skill.
It was the first time Canada played at Pepsi Colisee since a couple pre-tournament exhibition games. They brought a taste of Halifax with them here as the team's Maritime theme song Barrett's Privateers was played during the warmup.
The Canadians played magnificently in the opening five minutes, outworking the Swedes in the offensive zone and putting several quality shots at Henrik Lundqvist. The Swedish goalie came as good as advertised and made eight saves before Heatley finally got one past him.
He slipped free of defender Wallin and redirectd a Brent Burns pass behind Lundqvist at 5:35. Heatley celebrated by jumping hard into the boards, the most emotion he's shown after any of his 11 goals during this tournament.
The sniper is now tied with Eric Lindros for the most world championship goals in one year by a Canadian player in the modern era. Lindros had 11 goals in 1993.
It was exactly the start Canada wanted as they had the building jumping and the Swedes cowering. But the Canadian players soon started sitting back and allowed the visitors to pick up some momentum before Stralman tied the game.
He stepped in off the point and took a pass from Matthias Weinhandl and wired a shot that Pascal Leclaire could only get a piece of. The puck ended up in the net to tie it 1-1 with 44.9 seconds left in the opening period.
The game really opened up in the second period as the teams combined for five goals in the first 12:29.
Wallin made it 2-1 Sweden at 2:46, moments after Green had hit the post at the other end of the ice. That was the first time in eight tournament games that Canada had trailed but it didn't last long.
Getzlaf tied it 1:12 later on a nice individual rush. He cradled the puck and cut right around defenceman Magnus Johansson before lifting it over Lundqvist's shoulder.
The teams continued to trade rushes and the crowd noise grew. Mayers made it 3-2 for Canada with a hard wrist shot at 8:31 before Stralman knotted the score with his second goal of the game on a power play at 11:29.
Then it was Nash's turn to take centre stage. He took a pass in the neutral zone and split two Swedish defencemen before lifting it over Lundqvist.
The book is clearly out on the Swedish goalie as everything was beating him high. Green delivered the decisive blow for Canada shortly after Sweden's Jonas Frogren had been sent to the penalty box for four minutes after cutting Senators centere Jason Spezza with a high stick.
The Canadian defenceman raced down the wing and beat Lundqvist high to the glove side with 6.7 seconds left in the second period. Green had a breakout season with the Washington Capitals this season and has been a standout here.
Swedish coach Bengt-Ake Gustafsson sent Mikael Tellqvist out to play goal in the third period and he gave his team a chance.
Warg made it 5-4 by knocking in a loose puck at 14:21 before Tellqvist turned the dangerous Nash away on a clear breakaway.
The Swedes pressed hard for a late equalizer but Pascal wouldn't be beaten again on this night. The game ended with the sellout crowd of 13,026 delivered a deafening standing ovation before O Canada was played over the loud speaker.