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USA, Finland battle for bronze

Friday, 02.21.2014 / 10:14 PM ET / 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

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Henrique 75 16 27 -6 43
M. Cammalleri 68 27 15 2 42
P. Elias 69 13 21 -20 34
S. Gomez 58 7 27 -10 34
S. Bernier 67 16 16 2 32
T. Zajac 74 11 14 -3 25
A. Larsson 64 3 21 2 24
A. Greene 82 3 19 1 22
E. Gelinas 61 6 13 -2 19
M. Ryder 47 6 13 -1 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Schneider 26 31 9 .925 2.26
K. Kinkaid 6 5 4 .915 2.59