After losing another key forward, Sweden knows it may need to rely on goaltender Henrik Lundqvist if it wants to return to Olympic prominence.
There's a chance, however, Lundqvist might rest Saturday when Sweden - minus captain Henrik Zetterberg - faces winless Latvia with a quarterfinal berth already clinched.
Sweden's chances of earning a third gold medal and second in the last three Olympics took a big hit with the loss of Zetterberg to a herniated disk. The Swedish team, which failed to advance past the quarterfinals in 2010, headed to Sochi with Henrik Sedin and Johan Franzen already on the shelf.
Zetterberg played through his back injury and scored a goal in Wednesday's 4-2 win over the Czech Republic, but he sat out practice Thursday and the team said Friday he would miss the rest of the Olympics.
"We all know what (Zetterberg) goes through on a daily basis to be able to play, and for him to sit out, you know, it's pretty bad," said Detroit Red Wings teammate Niklas Kronwall, who has taken over as captain. "In saying that, we can't feel sorry for ourselves."
That lack of firepower showed in Friday's matchup with a defensive-minded Switzerland team. Daniel Alfredsson's goal with 7:21 to play gave Sweden a 1-0 victory and ended the Swiss' shutout streak at 152:39.
Lundqvist stopped 26 shots in his third career Olympic shutout. He had two in 2010 and none in his first appearance despite helping Sweden win gold in Turin.
"We all know if we're going anywhere, we need our goalie to be the best goalie in the tournament," Kronwall said.
Lundqvist was in net for the Swedes' only matchup with Latvia, a 6-1 victory in group play in 2006, but might take a seat in the second of games on back-to-back days. That leaves Jonas Gustavsson or Jhonas Enroth with a chance to take the ice Saturday.
Sweden, however, might opt to keep Lundqvist in net with Latvia proving not so easy to defeat in this tournament.
The Latvians nearly took Switzerland to overtime before a shot went off defenseman Georgijs Pujacs with 7.9 seconds left in a 1-0 loss Wednesday. They also proved a pesky opponent for the Czech Republic in a 4-2 defeat Friday.
Latvia twice tied that game in the first 23 minutes before allowing two goals to close the second period.
"Yesterday you could see it in the locker room that the guys were down on themselves," said forward Zemgus Girgensons, Latvia's only NHL player. "It's not easy to bounce back from that, but I thought we handled it pretty well."
Girgensons' club, though, was outshot 39-20 in that game and 39-21 by the Swiss.
The 41-year-old Alfredsson scored twice in the matchup with Latvia in 2006, one of his five Olympic appearances.
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