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What to watch as Team Canada goes for hockey gold against Sweden

Team Canada's Jamie Benn celebrates his goal as Corey Perry lookon during the second period action of the men's semifinals February 21, 2014 at the Sochi Winter Olympics.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

FOLLOW THE GAME

Canada leads Sweden 2-0 after second period.

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SWEDEN VERSUS CANADA

Gold-medal final, men's Olympic hockey, 4 p.m. Sochi time 7 a.m. Eastern, 4 a.m. Pacific

THE MATCH-UP

Canada and Sweden are both undefeated in the tournament, meaning that the 2014 Olympics will crown the first undefeated Olympic champion since 1984 in Sarajevo, when the Soviet Union won the gold.

THE SWEDISH X-FACTOR

Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson, who is tied atop the tournament scoring lead with USA forward Phil Kessel, with eight points in five games, including four goals. Karlsson is also the key to the Swedish power-play which is humming along at 36.8 per cent (7 for 19), best in the tournament.

THE CANADIAN X-FACTOR

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Sidney Crosby. Crosby has just two assists in the tournament, but he scored the Golden Goal for Canada four years ago and has a history of elevating his game in key moments. Crosby has 10 shots on goal thus far in the tournament.

THE GOALIE MATCH-UP

If form holds, the final will likely be a low-scoring game. Carey Price has a 0.74 goals-against average and a .963 save percentage in his four starts, all wins; while Sweden's Henrik Lundqvist has a 1.20 GAA and a .951 save percentage. It couldn't possibly be first goal wins, could it?

LIFE WITHOUT HENRIK

Daniel Sedin is playing left wing with Nicklas Backstrom and Loui Eriksson on Sweden's No. 1 line, and has five points in five games, making him the second-leading Swedish scorer after Karlsson.

HISTORY NEVER REPEATS?

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Canada and Sweden have met in one previous Olympics final, 1994 at Lillehammer. Canada went ahead 2-1 on a goal by Derek Mayer, but Sweden tied the game in the final two minutes on a goal by Magnus Svensson. The game ultimately went to a shootout and was decided on a goal by Peter Forsberg, which was eventually commemorated on a Swedish stamp. Swedish head coach Par Marts was an assistant on the 1994 team's coaching staff.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Canada and Sweden have played 16 previous times in the Olympics, with Canada winning 12, Sweden three and one ending in a tie. Interestingly, Sweden has either finished fifth or first in its last six Olympics.

DEFENDING THE GOLD

Canada has a chance to become the first team since the Soviet Union (1984, 1988) to defend the gold medal with a win. If it does, there will be 11 returning players to win double gold from the 2010 team. Sweden currently has four players remaining from the 2006 gold-medal team (Sedin, Lundqvist, Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Lidstrom).

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Sweden defeated the Czech Republic, Switzerland, Latvia, Slovenia and Finland by a combined score of 17-6. Canada defeated Norway, Austria, Finland, Latvia and the United States by a combined score of 14-3.

HE SAID IT

"I was at home with my parents, watching on TV. We were jumping up and down once (Tommy) Salo made the save on (Paul) Kariya." – Daniel Alfredsson on where he was when Sweden won its first-ever men's Olympic hockey title in 1994.

Follow me on Twitter @eduhatschek

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About the Author

Eric was the winner of the Hockey Hall Of Fame's Elmer Ferguson award for "distinguished contributions to hockey writing" in 2001. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario's grad school of journalism, he began covering hockey in 1978 and after spending 20 years covering the NHL and the Calgary Flames, joined The Globe in 2000. More

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