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Finland back on the ice

Friday, 08.10.2012 / 10:18 AM | Adam Kimelman  - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- After a much-needed day of rest, Finland coach Harri Lindell had his team on the ice for a short spin Friday morning, ahead of an afternoon game against Sweden.

Finland had played three games over the previous three days, losing to a split-squad U.S. team Monday, to Sweden on Tuesday and to the full-squad U.S. team Wednesday.

"We really needed that [day off] because it was a tough start to the season," Lindell told NHL.com. "Now that we have relaxed, now it's important today to have the right mental toughness again because playing three games in a row, then having a day of rest, then all of a sudden you need to battle again -- battle really hard. That's why we had a half an hour on the ice this morning, and having some one-on-ones, two-on-twos, to make sure that we are ready."

In Tuesday's 8-2 loss to Sweden, Finland played well at the start and had a 2-1 lead in the first minute of the second period. Things fell apart from there, however.

Lindell said one of the places he's looking to improve is puck control, especially in the neutral zone. And getting a power-play goal wouldn't hurt, either -- Finland is 0-for-11 in three games, and didn't have a power-play chance against Sweden.

"We need to play better on the power play, but we haven't had that many power-play chances," Lindell said. "And we really need to improve the game in the [neutral] zone. We have lost too many pucks there. Our puck control hasn't been that good. We have to focus on that."

Lindell said Richard Ullberg will start in goal Thursday. He allowed five goals on 24 shots in Monday's 5-1 loss to USA Blue. Lindell said Ullberg likely will be his top goalie for the 2013 World Junior Championship, and wants to see how he performs against Sweden, last year's tournament champion.

"We are thinking about him for the World Junior Championship," Lindell said. "These are tough games. … He didn't play against Sweden before so we need to see him."

Lindell also said Miikka Salomaki, a Nashville Predators prospect, will miss his third straight game with an upper-body injury. Salomaki skated Friday morning with the team, but Lindell said it wasn't worth risking further injury by playing him now. Lindell said there's a chance Salomaki could play Saturday against the United States.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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