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USA, Finland battle for bronze

Friday, 02.21.2014 / 10:14 PM / News
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USA, Finland battle for bronze
USA, Finland battle for bronze

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. ET (NBCSN, CBC)

Where: Bolshoy Arena

What's at stake: The United States and Finland have the opportunity to make the long trip to Sochi a bit more memorable by taking home some hardware. A win by the U.S. would be the men's team's first Olympic hockey medal won outside North America since capturing silver at the 1972 Sapporo Olympics.

"We want to come home with a bronze medal," U.S. coach Dan Bylsma said. "After we put [the semifinal] loss behind us we'll be back to do that."

The Finns haven't won Olympic gold since the NHL began sending players in 1998, but they have won some kind of medal three times in the past four Olympics.

"I have a nice trophy case at home," Finland captain Teemu Selanne said. "Three medals from Olympics. It would be nice to have four."

United States: The highest scoring team in the preliminary round couldn't find its offense when it needed it most in a 1-0 semifinals loss to Canada on Friday.

Despite putting 31 shots on goal, the Americans had few legitimate scoring chances and rarely had bodies around the Canada net.

"It seems like we had a tough time sustaining any pressure in their end," American forward Ryan Callahan said after the game. "They outnumbered us in their zone. We wanted to get pucks behind their [defense], create some opportunities that way. Thought we did it early, but they defended well."

Finland: The difference between playing for gold and playing for bronze for Finland was special teams. The Finns failed to take advantage of five power plays in the semifinal against Sweden, including a 95-second 5-on-3 advantage in the first period.

"I think the turning point is we got the first goal and had a power play right after it," forward Olli Jokinen said Friday. "We had a pretty good chance to score. That's the time you want to put the team away and get a two-goal lead."

Then the Finland penalty kill let down for a split second when Jarkko Immonen, assigned to shadow Sweden's Erik Karlsson, turned his head to follow the puck. That split-second lapse allowed Karlsson to find space, take a pass from Alexander Steen and blast a shot past goalie Kari Lehtonen for what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

What's next: The winning team will get its medal Sunday after Canada and Sweden play for the gold medal. The players and coaches from the losing team will immediately return to their NHL or club teams.

Adam Kimelman

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - BOS 82 54 19 9 261 177 117
2 y - PIT 82 51 24 7 249 207 109
3 x - TBL 82 46 27 9 240 215 101
4 x - MTL 82 46 28 8 215 204 100
5 x - NYR 82 45 31 6 218 193 96
6 x - PHI 82 42 30 10 236 235 94
7 x - CBJ 82 43 32 7 231 216 93
8 x - DET 82 39 28 15 222 230 93
9 WSH 82 38 30 14 235 240 90
10 NJD 82 35 29 18 197 208 88
11 OTT 82 37 31 14 236 265 88
12 TOR 82 38 36 8 231 256 84
13 CAR 82 36 35 11 207 230 83
14 NYI 82 34 37 11 225 267 79
15 FLA 82 29 45 8 196 268 66
16 BUF 82 21 51 10 157 248 52

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 82 24 43 16 67
P. Elias 65 18 35 -4 53
T. Zajac 80 18 30 3 48
A. Henrique 77 25 18 3 43
M. Zidlicky 81 12 30 -3 42
M. Ryder 82 18 16 -6 34
A. Greene 82 8 24 3 32
E. Gelinas 60 7 22 -3 29
D. Zubrus 82 13 13 1 26
R. Clowe 43 7 19 -10 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 16 15 12 .921 1.97
M. Brodeur 19 14 6 .901 2.51