After appearing unbeatable in its first four games at the 2012 IIHF World Hockey Championship, defending champion and tournament co-host Finland followed up a 5-3 loss to Canada Friday with an unhinged and undisciplined performance against the Americans. Thanks to a goal and an assist from both Chris Butler and Max Pacioretty as well as 18 stops from Jimmy Howard, the United States shocked the Finns 5-0, sending an early-tournament favorite into a sudden and unexpected free fall.
Just two days after being pushed to overtime by an upstart Kazakhstan squad, the United States raced out to a first-period lead against the Finns and never looked back. The Americans came out flying in the opening frame, outshooting the host nation 10-4 and leading 1-0 after 20 minutes thanks to a goal from Pacioretty. The goal came just eight seconds after Kyle Palmieri and Mikko Koivu received offsetting minors, providing plenty of open space on the international ice surface in the ensuing 4-on-4 situation.
The Americans continued to overwhelm Finnish goaltender Kari Lehtonen in the second, firing 11 shots in the period and forcing the Finns into drawing a number of penalties, none costlier than Mikael Granlund's slashing call, which led to Justin Faulk's fourth goal of the tournament. The power-play marker, assisted by Pacioretty, gave the United States a commanding 3-0 lead with just 2:04 remaining in the second period.