Final shot for Swede stars?
BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

TURIN -- Team Sweden is looking at today's Olympic gold-medal hockey final as a last chance.

There's a strong possibility that this group of Swedish stars won't play together again after today's game against Finland.

Not only will a new crop of players be at Vancouver in 2010, the likes of Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson, Mats Sundin, Peter Forsberg and Nik Lidstrom might not still be around.

"We know this could be the last chance for this group to play together," Alfredsson said yesterday. "We're trying not to think too much about it or make much of it. We just want to focus right now on playing the game. This is going to be a tough test for us."

'PRETTY TOUGH'

The Swedes have outplayed the Finns in the past, but this time around the atmosphere is different. Finland has been the best team in the tournament.

"You look at that team and they're obviously pretty tough to play against," Sundin said. "This is going to be a tough game for us, but we've got guys with lots of experience. We've got guys who have won Stanley Cups and world championships, so they're going to know what it takes to get the job done. We're focusing on trying to win the gold medal."

The unbeaten Finns have surrendered only five goals in seven games, so it's no surprise that Swedish coach Bengt Gustafsson expects a low-scoring affair.

"All we have to get is one goal and hope they don't score any, but I don't think it's only defence. We've got to make sure we get some offence as well," said Gustafsson.

bruce.garrioch@ott.sunpub.com