WATCH: Team Canada held off a hard charging Finland for a 2-1 OT win and earned a trip to the quarterfinals. Eric Sorensen reports
Team Canada is advancing straight to the quarterfinals of the men’s hockey tournament at the Sochi Winter Olympics, after beating Finland 2-1 in overtime.
Drew Doughty scored two minutes and 32 seconds into OT, giving Team Canada the 2-1 win over Finland. The L.A. Kings defenceman scored both of Canada’s goals on Sunday.
Canada will play either Switzerland or Latvia in the quarterfinals, having missed a chance to clinch the first seed and an easier road to the final by not winning in regulation.
Doughty opened up the scoring nearly 14 minutes into the first period. Shea Weber and Sidney Crosby picked up the assists. Shots on net were even after the first with eight a piece.
Canada outplayed Finland for most of the second period, but had no goals to show for it. Canada spent much of the period in their opponent’s end, outshooting the Finns 9-4. But, Finland’s Tuomo Ruutu scored with two minutes left in the second, flipping the momentum in Finland’s favour to close out the period 1-1.
Canada out-shot Finland 8-2 in the third period, but couldn’t get a puck past Finnish netminder Tuukka Rask. Doughty scored the game-winner on Canada’s second shot in overtime.
With the win, Canada won their group and advances straight to the quarterfinal round, which will be played on Wed. Feb. 19.
Both teams headed into Sunday’s match-up with a 2-0 record.
Finland is undoubtedly a tougher matchup, something the Canadian team welcomed. Head coach Mike Babcock said Sunday’s game would provide another chance for the team to get better as a group.
“We expect a very, very strong game from the Finns tomorrow,” said Babcock in a press conference on Saturday.
Carey Price got the nod as the starting goaltender against the Finns and Roberto Luongo was the backup.
Luongo made 23 saves on Friday to pick up a shutout against Austria. Price started in net on Thursday, stopping 19 of 20 shots in Canada’s 3-1 victory against Norway.
“I thought both goaltenders were [really] strong,” said Babcock.
Babcock and the management team used the first two games as a chance to mix up the lines and lineup, taking feedback from management, the coaching staff and the players.
And while lineup decisions are personal for the players involved, in the end it’s not about them, “it’s about our country and about making the right decisions,” he said.
Martin St. Louis was announced as the healthy scratch forward as Patrick Sharp rejoined the lineup against Finland.
On defence, Dan Hamhuis was back in with P.K. Subban sitting out.
Pittsburgh Penguins linemates Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz were split up for the game, as Crosby centred wingers Jamie Benn and Patrice Bergeron.
Kunitz moved to a line with John Tavares and Rick Nash. Patrick Marleau, Jonathan Toews and Jeff Carter started on a line together, as did Matt Duchene, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
The Finns are one of the favourites at the Sochi Games, with 14 NHLers on the national team roster, but they’ve been plagued with injuries leading up to and in the Olympic tournament.
Forward Aleksander Barkov will miss the remainder of the tournament due to an lower-body injury sustained during Friday’s match against Norway.
Anaheim Ducks forward Teemu Selanne missed the final two periods of the Austria game due to an upper-body injury. He returned to the lineup against Norway. The 43-year-old Finnish captain was in the lineup against Canada on Sunday.
The Finnish team is also missing three top players from their Olympic roster: Saku Koivu, Mikko Koivu and Valtteri Filppula. According to reports, Saku Koivu withdrew himself from consideration shortly before the national team was announced as he continues to recover from a concussion. Mikko Koivu and Filppula are both missing the Olympics because of ankle injuries sustained before the Olympic break.
The Finns have shown offensive depth in their first two games, with 14 goals spread across 10 players; Pittsburgh Penguins defencmen Olli Maatta, Phoenix Coyotes forward Lauri Korpikoski, Minnesota Wild forward Mikael Granlund and Jarkko Immonen netted two goals each.
Austria beat Norway 3-1 on Sunday, despite the Norwegians outshooting Austria 35 to 27. New York Islanders winger Michael Grabner picked up two goals and an assist. Philadelphia Flyers forward Michael Raffl also scored a goal.
Following a dramatic shootout win against Russia on Saturday, Team USA got an early jump on Slovenia, with Phil Kessel scoring two goals before the five minute mark of the first period. The Toronto Maple Leafs forward led the U.S. with a hat trick. USA beat Slovenia 5-1, with Marcel Rodman getting the lone Slovenia goal, spoiling Ryan Miller’s shutout with 18 seconds left in the game.
After a scoreless 60 minutes of regulation and five minutes of overtime, Russia beat Slovakia 1-0 in a shootout. Slovakia’s goalie Ján Laco stopped 15 shots in the third period, most of them shorthanded, but the Russians were unable to capitalize on four straight Slovakia penalties. At the end of the overtime and shootout, Russia outshot Slovakia 37-27.
With a file from The Canadian Press
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