Skip to main content

Finland looks to complete perfect preliminary round, faces Germany

NHL.com @NHL

With the top seed in the medal round secured, all Finland has left to accomplish in the preliminary round is perfection.

The Finns look to finish out their Olympic round-robin with five wins in as many games as they face Germany in the teams' final preliminary round contest Tuesday.

Finland clinched the top spot in Group A with a 2-0 victory over gold medal favorite Canada on Sunday. The Finns will play the fourth-place team from Group B, almost certain to be the United States, in quarterfinal play Wednesday.

"It's the first big step to win this group," coach Erkka Westerlund said. "But I haven't talked to them yet about the next opponent."

Finland has dominated its four opponents in Turin, outscoring them 17-2. Four players have seven or more points in the Olympic tournament, and three of them are Finns.

Anaheim Mighty Ducks star Teemu Selanne scored his sixth goal in four games in Sunday's first period. He added two assists and has a tournament-high eight points.

Selanne's Finn teammates, Montreal Canadiens captain Saku Koivu and Jere Lehtinen of the Dallas Stars, join Slovakia's Marian Hossa as the only other players with seven points in Turin. Koivu assisted on Selanne's goal Sunday.

Lehtinen's Dallas teammate Niko Kapanen scored his first goal of the tournament for Finland in the opening period.

Finn goalie Antero Niittymaki continued his strong play with 24 saves to hand Canada its second consecutive shutout loss. The Canadians fell 2-0 to Switzerland on Saturday.

Niittymaki, who plays for the Philadelphia Flyers, has three wins in Turin, two of them shutouts. He has stopped 85 of 87 shots faced.

No Canadian team had been shut out in consecutive Olympic contests since the 1984 Sarajevo Games.

"They were a little bit frustrated," Finland's Olli Jokinen said. "We got off to a good start and we outskated them in the first 10 minutes in the game, and we were able to get two goals."

With a record of 0-2-2, Germany is fifth in Group A. The Germans can still advance to the quarterfinals, but even if they upset Finland, winning a tiebreaker against either the Czech Republic or Canada is highly unlikely.

A strong game from the Washington Capitals' Olaf Kolzig, who stopped 23 shots, helped Germany stay alive with a surprise 2-2 tie against Switzerland on Sunday. Germany was ranked 10th in last year's world hockey rankings, compared to eighth for the Swiss.

Tino Boos beat Swiss goaltender David Aebischer for the tying goal midway through the third period Sunday, his second goal of the tournament. Boos also has one assist in Turin, making him Germany's leading scorer with three points.

The Germans had scored just five goals in three games prior to Sunday.

View More