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Live from the ACC: Canada-Sweden updates

TORONTO -- We have a couple print edition stories in progress but we'll make sure to give you a sense of what's going on tonight in the Air Canada Centre as Canada meets Sweden in the second of its three exhibition games.

Odd to see Sweden come on the ice for warmups 40 minutes before faceoff (it's 16 in the NHL). I think the folks here were surprised too; the Swedes skated in darkness for nearly five minutes before the lights came up. A minute or two later, Canada took the ice.

The Hockey Canada logo is at center ice; the Leafs logos are gone. There are ads inside each offensive zone on the ice, for Canadian networks TSN/RDS at one end and Chevrolet at the other. All the PA announcements are being done in both English and French. I'd estimate the crowd in the 12,000 range.

Binghamton/Ottawa Senators goalie Robin Lehner will be in the cage for Sweden. A roaring standing ovation as Canada takes the ice. Lots of flags in the crowd. Sabres prospects Zack Kassian and Marcus Foligno will start along with ace center Sean Couturier.

Incredible national anthem. We're in for a real treat when the Canadian fans come across the border, folks. Whole crowd full throat level of O Canada and a huge -- and I mean huge -- flag passed through the lower level.

---Mike Harrington
(www.twitter.com/bnharrington) 

First Period

13:49 left: Canada did nothing on an early power play after Sweden took a boarding penalty after just 17 seconds. Shots are 4-1 for the Swedes. Couple nice saves by Canadian goalie Olivier Roy. Plenty of "Let's Go Canada" chants in the crowd.

12:28 left: And the place erupts as Canada takes a 1-0 lead on a quick snap shot by Brayden Schenn to cap a 2-on-1. That was an NHL-level play. No surprise: Schenn was with the LA Kings this season.

End-1st: After an Internet issue, I'm finally back up. Canada still holds its 1-0 lead but it was a great period by Roy as Sweden had a 15-5 edge in shots on goal. The Canadians are not doing much skating while the Swedes are efficiently getting the puck up the ice and whipping passes in the offensive zone. Maybe the best chance, however, was a backhand miss by Schenn after he broke in alone with 2:10 left.

Second Period

16:06 left: Canada has the only two shots so far by defenseman and team captain Ryan Ellis, who will be playing in his third WJC, just made a great play to prevent a goal by diving across the crease to block a shot with the net basically open. 

13:17 left: A great power play by Canada leads to a goal by Kassian that makes it 2-0. Right on the spot at the edge of the crease to Lehner's right, he backhanded home a rebound. Excellent hands. Can't wait to see them at HSBC.

8:04 left: Swedes have a 20-12 edge in shots but Roy has been excellent and Canada is now going back on the power play. 

3:40 left: Sensational play by alternate captain and veteran defenseman Calvin de Haan. Sweden's Oscar Lindberg was sailing down the ice on a shorthanded breakaway but de Haan caught him from behind and got enough of his stick to prevent a shot. There are six No. 1 picks on the Canadian defense and plays like that tell you why.

End-2nd: It's 2-0 for Canada and shots are 21-15 for Sweden. Better period for the home side. These teams clearly don't like each other. Lots of chippy stuff in this period to set the stage for the New Year's Eve game in HSBC, which should be a dandy. In one scrum, Ellis got quite the facewash from Lehner after approaching the crease.

Third Period

10:43 left:The Internet connection is always pretty wonky in this building and tonight is no different, so apologies for the dearth of updates. Sweden has just scored to make it 2-1 on Max Friberg's slapper from the right circle that floated over Roy's shoulder. Bad goal there.  These refs call this game tight. Wonder if it will be like this during the tournament. I think Canada is 1 for 10 on the power play. Had a two-man edge couple minutes ago it couldn't convert. They have to be better in that area.

4:05 left: Canada has played a pretty tight game holding its lead and finally gets rewarded as Ryan Johansen's shot from the slot leaks through to make it 3-1. A quick shot but should have been stopped.

2:00 left: Canada holding its lead and keeping the puck in the Sweden zone. Fans singing "O, Canada" in the stands. Cool

1:20 left:  Marcus Foligno wide open empty net. Off the post. Skating down on 3-on-2 and didn't have head up. ALmost didn't realize no goalie.

46.1 left: The empty netter from Cody Eakin wraps up a 4-1 win for Canada.

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