• Sweden's Erik Karlsson (not shown) scores past goalie Alexander Salak (53) of the Czech Republic as Sweden's Loui Eriksson (21) looks on during the second period of their men's preliminary round hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Bruce Bennett/Pool

    Sweden's Erik Karlsson (not shown) scores past goalie Alexander Salak (53) of the Czech Republic as Sweden's Loui Eriksson (21) looks on during the second period of their men's preliminary round hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Bruce Bennett/Pool

  • Sweden's Erik Karlsson (L) celebrates his second goal of the game with teammate Nicklas Backstrom during the second period of their men's preliminary round hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

    Sweden's Erik Karlsson (L) celebrates his second goal of the game with teammate Nicklas Backstrom during the second period of their men's preliminary round hockey game at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Sweden opens Games with win over Czechs

By Steve Keating

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Defenseman Erik Karlsson blasted a pair of goals on his Olympic debut to help Sweden to a 4-2 win over the Czech Republic in their Sochi Winter Games ice hockey opener on Wednesday.

With the goaltending of Henrik Lunqvist, a mobile, puck-moving defense led by Karlsson and plenty of firepower up front, Sweden are serious contenders for the Olympic title which they last won at the 2006 Games.

Karlsson opened the scoring midway through the first period and added a powerplay tally in the second as the Swedes charged to a 4-0 lead at the Bolshoy Ice Dome.

But the Czechs hit back with two quick-fire goals 1:49 apart from Marek Zidlicky and evergreen Jaromir Jagr, a member the 1998 gold medal winning team who will celebrate his 42nd birthday on Saturday.

Captain Henrik Zetterberg and Patrik Berglund had the other Sweden goals.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

Highlights

Fireworks explode over the Fisht Olympic Stadium during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

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Highlights

Performers surround mechanized Olympic mascots under a large vessel suspended in the air during the closing ceremony for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, February 23, 2014. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Closing ceremony in Sochi