Swedish players hail Lidström’s stunning strike

Sweden's players hailed Nicklas Lidström after the veteran defenceman sealed Olympic ice hockey gold with a stunning strike from distance.

Ten seconds into the third period, Lidström wound up a slap shot from just inside the blue line that rocketed in off the crossbar past motionless Finnish goaltender Antero Nittymaki.

A stunned Finland were unable to find a response as Sweden celebrated their second Olympic title in a 3-2 win.

“I hit it perfectly,” said Lidström, 35. “I hit the spot I was aiming to. I tried to shoot high on the blocker’s side and I hit it perfectly.”

Captain Mats Sundin said the goal should be immortalised in a stamp, as happened with Peter Forsberg’s 1994 winner which has been replayed constantly on Swedish television.

“That shot is going down in the history books,” Sundin said.

“It’s fitting that he scored it. He’s probably been our best player through the whole tournament – what a great player.”

Lidström’s goal was the pick of Sweden’s strikes, which coincidentally all came from Detroit Red Wings players with Henrik Zetterberg and Niklas Kronwall both scoring in the second period.

“What a shot! If that’s not cool I don’t know what is,” said forward Daniel Sedin of Lidström’s rocket.

“It’s nice to see those goals.”

Coach Bengt Ake Gustafsson also praised Lidström for helping keep Finland at bay in the tense final moments.

“He’s a very good defenceman. When things get tight you look to some key players and he’s one of them,” Gustafsson said.

“He stepped up, had a great tournament for us so I’m very satisfied with him.”

Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist also won plaudits for some memorable saves with Finland pressing just seconds from the end.

“To win the tournament you need some big stops sometimes. He made some big stops and won this game at the end there,” said Gustafsson.

“He made a great stop with about 30 seconds left in the game. It could have been a different story otherwise.”

Kronwall and Zetterberg were also on the scoresheet when Sweden beat Canada for Olympic gold in Lillehammer.