Predators defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who gave his Finnish team a 1-0 lead in Sunday's Olympic gold medal game against Sweden in Torino, Italy, ended up with silver as his club finished just short in a thrilling 3-2 contest. Finland had been undefeated in its first seven games of the tournament but Sunday the strong defensive squad yielded two second-period goals while short-handed and gave up a third 10 seconds into the final period with the teams skating four-on-four.
Timonen's silver medal raises the total number of medals won by Nashville Predators to four. On Saturday, Predators Tomas Vokoun, Martin Erat and Marek Zidlicky won bronze as their Czech Republic team shut out Russia 3-0. Nashville defenseman Danny Markov--the fifth of five Predators participating in the Games--was a member of that Russian club and finished just out of medal contention in fourth.
In Sunday's gold-medal match, Timonen's goal was a power-play tally and came 14:45 into the first period from an assist by Teemu Selanne. A string of Finnish penalties in the second allowed Sweden to take the lead with two power-play goals. First, Henrik Zetterberg caromed the puck in off Finland goaltender Antero Niittymaki from the right side of the net at 4:42, then Niklas Kronwall connected with a shot from the slot as his Detroit Red Wings teammate Tomas Holmstrom screened Niittymaki at 13:24.
Finland's Ville Peltonen knotted the game at 2-2 before the second intermission, backhanding a Jussi Jokinen setup past Swedish goaltender Henrik Lundqvist at 15:00. But a score by Niklas Lidstrom from the left point only 10 seconds into third period put Sweden up for good. A late offensive flurry by Finland came close to tying the match, but Lundqvist stood tall as he repelled 10 third period shots to secure the win.
Timonen, playing in his third Olympic tournament, adds a silver medal to the bronze he won in 1998. He was also named to the five-man all-tournament team, selected by the media. Timonen's countryman Niittymaki, who made 28 saves Sunday, was voted as the goaltender of the honorary all-star squad and was also named MVP of the tournament.
Olympic Men's Ice Hockey Results
GOLD MEDAL GAME
Sweden 3, Finland 2