Coming in to the finals both teams had offences that could come alive and goaltenders who could shut things down. It was hard to tell which would have the bigger influence in the series, but it soon became clear that this final was going to be a shootout.
Through the first 4 games of the series, Frölunda and Djurgården have combined for a staggering 26 goals, something I don't think a lot of fans were expecting. With the likes of Adam Reideborn and Johan Mattsson between the pipes, a low scoring series would not have been unexpected. However, the offence for both teams has absolutely exploded in the finals and both goaltenders have had some tough games.
Game 1 started things off in Scandinavium, where Frölunda has been unbeaten since January 26th and that streak would continue throughout the series. The Indians offence proved to much for Djurgården and they came away with the 5-3 win to take the advantage. Undaunted, Djurgården would return the favor in game 2 with a big 5-1 victory in front of a packed Ericsson globe. The win in game 2 certainly wasn't necessary for Djurgården, but it was very important. Given Frölundas success at home, heading back to Gothenburg down 2 games to none could've proved to be their undoing, but they certainly silenced their critics with their victory in game 2.
Frölunda would continue their home streak in game 3 putting up another 5 goal game with the 5-2 win that saw them put 3 past Reidborn in the 2nd period. With the win, Frölunda has now put together 15 straight wins at home. Having the home ice advantage as the higher seed, if Frölunda keeps their home streak intact, they will come away with their 2nd Le Mat Trophy in just 4 years. Djurgården, on the other hand, has not won the championship since their back to back victories in 2000 and 2001. Despite the blowouts in the first 3 games, game 4 would prove to be a much tighter affair as Djurgården looked to tie up the series at 2 games apiece.
Game of the Week
Game #4 back in Stockholm was an important game for both teams. Frölunda had a chance to take a stranglehold on the series and Djurgården was looking to tie things up. Johan Mattsson had gone down with an injury in the 1st period of game 3 and was not dressed to play in game 4, so Johan Gustafsson got the start for Frölunda.
The 1st period was all but dominated by the Indians as they managed 12 shots on goal and held Djurgården to just 5 of their own. Djurgårdens first powerplay didn't prove to be the opportunity they were hoping for, as they were looking to get some momentum back on their side. Max Friberg picked up the puck, short handed, in the offensive zone, danced off the half boards and with a pair of Djurgården players all over him, scored a highlight reel goal to put Frolunda up 1-0.
The 2nd period would prove to be more evenly matched as Djurgården settled things down and started getting chances of their own. However, Frölunda was awarded a powerplay opportunity with less then 10 to play in the frame. Frölundas red hot powerplay would continue to produce as Simon Hjalmarsson was able to sneak one through Adam Reidborn to put Frölunda up 2-0. The turning point in the game would come with less than 5 to play in the frame. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby would get taken down on a break away attempt and Djurgården was awarded the penalty shot. On the attempt, Mattias Guter slid it five hole against Gustafsson, the puck came off the back of Gustafssons leg and crossed the line by just inches to pull Djurgården back within 1. It would take less than 2 minutes for Djurgården to strike again as a shot from Jesper Pettersson deflected off Jacob Josefsons skate and in to tie the game at 2 heading in to the 3rd frame.
With renewed confidence and all the momentum on their side, Djurgården came out hard and fast in the 3rd period. They peppered Gustafsson with 9 shots in the frame and held the Indians to just 4 of their own. With just under 8 and half minutes elpased in the frame, Niclas Bergfors let a quick turn around shot go from the circle that beat Gustafsson short side. With the 3 unanswered goals and Djurgårdens shut down play in the third, they completed the comeback and tied the series at 2.
The series now shifts back to Gothenburg for game #5 on Tuesday night.