Selanne sets scoring record in Finland rout
Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:14 AM
Shawn P. Roarke - NHL.com Senior Managing Editor
-- Finland's Teemu Selanne is the most prolific scorer in Olympic history after registering an assist in Friday night's 5-0 Group C win against Germany at Canada Hockey Place.
But Selanne is not ready to talk about his place in Olympic history. He says he still has a few more chapters to author, starting with the Sunday Showdown against rival Sweden that will determine the group champion.
"I think it's one of those things that, after I retire, I'm going to look back and think it will be bigger at that time," Selanne told NHL.com. "Right now, the individual stuff is not so important. But it's still a big honor."
The individual stuff can wait because Selanne has his sights set on Sweden, which is not only his country's biggest rival, but also the team that denied the Finns the gold medal four years ago in Turin.
By the time Selanne walked off the ice Friday night, his mind was already travelling back to that heartbreak in Italy, a crushing 3-2 loss that left a wound that still festers four long years later.
"I think the focus starts going there pretty soon," Selanne said. "It's going to be a huge one Sunday. I'm very happy. I like how we have played so far and it is good to move on."
The Finns have not quite moved on yet, although it must feel like they have as they prepare for Sweden. The loser of Sunday's battle of unbeatens -- both teams are 2-0-0-0 -- won't go home, but will most likely be sent into the qualification pool and be forced to play an elimination game on Tuesday. The winner moves directly into Wednesday's win-or-go-home quarterfinals.
"We all know it's going to be a test Sunday and we can really measure where we are as a team," defenseman Kimmo Timonen told NHL.com.
Heading into Sunday's game -- the nightcap of an incredible three-game slate that also feature Russia playing the Czech Republic and the United States facing off against Canada -- the Finns have to be feeling confident about their game.
"Absolutely, absolutely," Selanne told NHL.com.
Despite the members of its top line -- Selanne, Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen -- being held without a goal, Finland has managed to score 10 times in beating Belarus and Germany.
Much of the damage has come on the power play. Kimmo Timonen had two man-advantage goals Friday. Joni Pitkanen and Tuomo Ruutu also scored on the power play. Jarkko Ruutu, Tuomo's older brother, had the only even-strength goal of the game and has scored in both contests.
"We've got two pretty good (power-play) units, especially our unit," Timonen told NHL.com.
Timonen's unit consists of him and Sami Salo on the points and Selanne, Saku Koivu and Olli Jokinen up front.
"We've got, I think it's a perfect setup," Timonen continued. "We have two righties and three lefties and we can play both sides, and Olli is a big boy and he is doing a great job in front of the net. It's working real well. Now when it comes to Sunday and the next game, I think it will be more important. I don't think we are going to get four every night."
Not surprisingly, Selanne set the Olympic scoring record with his 37th point on one of Timonen's power-play goals. Selanne started the play with a pass back to Salo on the point and then Salo changed the point of attack with a quick pass to Timonen, who unleashed a one-timer. It hit a German stick and then wobbled past German goalie Dmitri Patzold, who was screened by Jokinen.
"It's great he got that (point) out of the way," Jokinen told NHL.com. "I was screening there and it's probably the first time I was hoping I don't touch the puck, so Teemu can get that point."
While the Finns were happy with Friday's showing against Germany, they know they step up in weight class in 48 hours. The Germans have yet to manage a goal in this tournament and fired just 24 shots at Niklas Backstrom, the Finnish backup goalie.
Sweden will be better.
"It was a good confidence boost to get some goals on the power play, but with all the respect to the first two countries we play, the next one is huge," Jokinen said. "It's a big test for us. Those guys, they won last time; so this is a big test for us."
1 2 2 - 5
0 0 0 - 0
1. FIN, T. Ruutu (Niskala, Hagman) 4:21 (PPG)
- Wolf GER (holding) 3:27, T. Ruutu FIN (tripping) 6:16, Lepisto FIN (holding) 8:06.
2. FIN, Timonen (S. Koivu, Jokinen) 4:04 (PPG)
3. FIN, Timonen (Selanne, Salo) 16:03 (PPG)
- Greilinger GER (tripping) 2:10, Hecht GER (slashing) 14:24, Hospelt GER (hooking) 17:52.
4. FIN, J. Ruutu (Peltonen, Kapanen) 7:10
5. FIN, Pitkanen (Hagman) 9:01 (PPG)
- Tripp GER (holding) 8:52, Ficenec GER (hooking) 15:26, J. Ruutu FIN (holding) 17:34.
SHOTS ON GOAL
8 13 14 - 35
6 8 10 - 24
(goals-shots against) - FIN: Backstrom (W, 0-24); GER: Patzold (L, 5-35).
(goals-chances) - FIN: 4-5; GER: 0-2.