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Off stunning upset, Canada faces unbeaten Finland

NHL.com @NHL

Canada's quest for a second straight gold medal took a hit on Saturday and is about to get a lot tougher.

After being shut out by surprising Switzerland, Canada must regroup and face an unbeaten Finland team that has already qualified for the quarterfinals.

The Canadians fired 49 shots on goal at Switzerland's Martin Gerber on Saturday, but couldn't get anything past him in a 2-0 loss. Canada came into the contest beating lightly regarded Germany and host Italy by a combined 12-3 margin.

Canada also had won seven in a row against the Swiss, including a 33-0 rout at the 1924 Chamonix Games - the most lopsided score in Olympic men's hockey history.

"The Swiss team came to work," said Canadian coach Pat Quinn, who said his team didn't skate well and spent too much time passing across the ice rather than up ice. "They played a better Canadian game than we did."

Part of Canada's struggles have come from a lack of offense. Vincent Lecavalier, Joe Sakic, Todd Bertuzzi, Rick Nash and Ryan Smyth have combined for 109 goals for their NHL teams this season, but have yet to score one in Turin.

Canada also went 0-for-11 on the power play in the loss to the Swiss, who have just three current NHL players on their team in Gerber of the Carolina Hurricanes, Colorado Avalanche goaltender David Aebischer and Montreal Canadiens rookie defenseman Mark Streit.

"We have talent, but it's only one part of the whole thing. We tried to rely on talent and it wasn't good enough," Quinn said. "And if we don't learn from that, we will be going home early."

The Canadian offense is led by the Ottawa Senators' Dany Heatley and Shane Doan of the Phoenix Coyotes. Each has two goals and an assist in Turin. Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames also has two goals.

Canada wraps up preliminary-round play Tuesday against the Czech Republic.

Finland clinched a spot in the quarterfinals after posting a 4-2 win Saturday over the Czechs, who played the second half of the game without NHL scoring leader Jaromir Jagr.

Jagr, who has 40 goals and 88 points this season for the New York Rangers, suffered a nasty gash on his forehead when checked into the boards by Jarko Ruutu.

Ruutu, a defenseman with the Vancouver Canucks, was ejected.

"Maybe when you lose the best player in the world it does affect you," Finnish goaltender Antero Niittymaki said. "I was a little surprised at the way they played after that."

Niittymaki of the Philadelphia Flyers finished with 37 saves for the Finns, who have allowed just two goals in three games after posting shutout wins over Switzerland and Italy.

Finland's top line of Jere Lehtinen, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne combined for eight points. Lehtinen of the Dallas Stars scored twice and Selanne of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks added his fifth in three games.

"We have all played together over the last year so we know each other's style," said Koivu of the Montreal Canadiens. "We tried to make things happen and put the puck in the net."

Lehtinen and Selanne are tied for the Olympic scoring lead with seven points each. Koivu is tied for third with six points.

Olli Jokinen of the Florida Panthers and former Nashville Predator Ville Peltonen are among six players tied for fourth with four points.

Finland has won just three medals in its history: silver in 1988 at Calgary, and bronze in 1994 at Lillehammer and 1998 in Nagano.

The Finns meet Germany their final preliminary-round game on Tuesday.

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