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View From Vancouver: Onto The Semis

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers
A View From Vancouver Photogallery

Panthers play-by-play man Steve Goldstein is in Vancouver to cover the Olympic games for Westwood One radio. And while he's there, he'll be blogging on his experiences and his thoughts on the hockey tournament and the Olympics in general. Only seen on, enjoy as Steve brings you closer to the action (unless you're actually in Vancouver and at the games that is).

It will be the U.S. against Finland in the semifinals Friday as the US earned a 2-0 victory over Switzerland while won by the same score over Tomas Vokoun and the Czech Republic.

Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller was super, keeping Switzerland in the game as it was scoreless after two periods. But the US finally broke through early in the third. Zach Parise got a piece of Brian Rafalaski's point shot and the puck squeaked by Hiller on an American power play. Parise added an empty netter to put it away. 

The U.S. is 4-0 and will play for a medal. It will be gold if they win Friday in the semifinals. Saturday night is the bronze medal game, which the U.S. will play if they lose in the Semis. Team USA dominated the first period but couldn't beat Hiller. The Swiss have been tough all tournament long and they hung in there throughout the game.

The U.S. is now 8-1 all time in Olympic play vs. Switzerland with the only loss coming in 1948.

Friday's game will be a battle for the U.S. as the Finns always show up and play their system well and get strong goaltending. Calgary's Mikka Kipprusoff shut out the Czechs to advance.

Expect Kipper and Ryan Miller to be the story and it could very well come down to whichever goalie is best will take his team to the gold medal game. Finland has former Panthers players Olli Jokinen, Niklas Hagman and Ville Peltonen playing in these Olympics. It should be fun on Friday with face-off at 3pm eastern time.

Then at 9pm the joint will be jumping for team Canada. The Canadians have it clicking on all cylinders now after routing the Russians 7-3. They'll take on the Slovaks who upset the number-two seed Sweden 4-3 in the nightcap of the quarterfinals.

A U.S.-Canada rematch could be the biggest sporting event ever in Canada and one of the biggest hockey games ever in the United States. Two very tough games to be played before that occurs though.

More later.

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