SOCHI, Russia — Patrick Sharp planned a low-key agenda for the night before one of the biggest hockey games of his life.
"Try and relax ... keep the heart rate low (and) try not to think about it too much," the Chicago Blackhawks winger said Saturday, a day before the winger will take the ice for Canada against Sweden in the gold-medal contest of the men's tournament at the Winter Games in Sweden. "It's going to be an exciting time. I know a lot of us here in the room have either won gold medals at the junior level in 2010 or Stanley Cups back home. We all have experience in playing big games, and I think the idea's just to stick with what works. We're professionals, we've been here before and it's just a matter of staying calm and getting ready to go Sunday."
Sharp will join Hawks teammates Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith when they face off against Sweden, which features Niklas Hjlamarsson, Johnny Oduya and Marcus Kruger.
Oduya said the excitement level has increased as the Games have gone along.
"The first week was kind of, you're struggling with time zones and just a general feeling with the big ice and everything," Oduya said. "This week, we're getting more and more feeling as the elimination games came along that this is for real and this is something you want to be a part of even more.
"Then for us and for them, you win a game in the semifinals and you've got one more game to go," Oduya added. "It becomes very real and it becomes very fun too. I think everybody is going to have that type of feeling for a Game 7 or something like that. Those are the fun games to play. You have the opportunity to be in one of these games that you work for."
Sweden reached the final game by dispatching Finland in the semifinals while Canada edged the United States.
"(Sweden) It's going to be our toughest game," Keith said. "We have to have the mindset it's going to be our toughest game of the tournament. We have to leave it all out there. We know they've got a lot of skill on defense, forward and their goaltender's great, so we've got our work cut out for us."
Toews said Canada will make some tweaks to face the top-seeded Swedes.
"We're definitely going to try and change a few things to try and make things tough for the Swedes and considering how they're different from the other teams we've faced," Toews said. "Primarily it comes down to our preparation, whether we're ready to play or not."