Hockey – Canada vs Finland: the Good and the Bad

Put simply, this was the only game of the three that was going to possibly be in doubt for Canada. Still, they needed a win. A regulation win over Finland would give Team Canada first place overall in the preliminary round, a bye into the quarter-finals and a favorable path through the elimination round.

Here’s what happened:

Good: Canada opened the scoring on a first period powerplay goal from Doughty, his third of the tournament already. Weber and Crosby got the assists.

Bad: Rick Nash’s disallowed goal. On the play, Nash played a puck that landed atop the Finnish goal, and then knocked it loose with his stick. It jumped up, banked off Rask’s back and into the goal. Under IIHF rules, as long as Nash didn’t touch the puck, it should have counted. Instead, after a video review, they ruled that Nash had made contact with the puck and disallowed the goal was because that meant it was played with a high stick.

Good: Coach Mike Babcock changed his lines again, playing Sidney Crosby with Patrice Bergeron and Jamie Benn. The only line that remained intact from the Austria game was the Marleau-Toews-Carter line. They were, by far, Canada’s best line. Martin St Louis was the odd man out for this game.

Bad: As Jim Hughson mentioned, the game was technically perfect, but it was boring and the game lacked any drama. Both teams were solid positionally and defensively.

Bad: For most of the game, Canada dominated zone time and puck possession. Finland managed just four shots in the second period and two in the third, but Canada couldn’t finish. Ha. Finnish. Get it? Tip your waiters.

Bad: Finland scored off a nice tip in front by Tuomo Ruutu. If you don’t finish your chances, eventually it’ll come back to haunt you.

Good: Luckily, much like the Gold Medal final in 2010, the Canadian goalie made a big save at one end, and Canada scored soon after to win it in OT. Price made a nice blocker save on a quick shot by Kontiola, then Doughty jumped up and scored his fourth (!!) goal of the tournament to win it for Canada.

Up next: Canada’s path to the gold medal game is now more difficult than it would have been if they had won in regulation over Finland, but four years ago in Vancouver, they were just 1-1-1 in the preliminary round and were the 6 seed going into the medal round.

Sweden was the only team to win all three of its games in regulation, making them the No. 1 seed for the medal round. The United States earned the No. 2 seed, Canada settled for the No. 3 seed, and Finland is No. 4. All four get byes into the quarter-finals.

On, Tuesday, the matchups are as follows:
Russia (5) vs Norway (12)
Switzerland (6) vs Latvia (11)
Czech Republic (7) vs Slovakia (10)
Slovenia (8) vs Austria (9)

Canada plays the winner of Switzerland-Latvia on Wednesday.

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