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Lehtonen Makes 20 Saves, Notches Two as Finland Tops Norway in Sochi

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Kari Lehtonen’s Olympic debut Friday was an impressive one. The Dallas goaltender stopped 20 of 21 shots and picked up two assists as Finland rolled over Norway. Stars captain Jamie Benn didn’t factor in the scoring as Canada routed Austria.

Finland 6, Norway 1

Kari Lehtonen stopped 20 of 21 shots in his Olympic debut and registered two assists as Finland defeated Norway, 6-1, Friday in Group B. Finland improved to 2-0 in the tournament.

“It was nice to play,” Lehtonen told Finnish media. “You never know what it will be like. I didn’t know the Norwegian players. I tried to stay a little calmer than usual. It went well, and this is a good start.”

Lehtonen had the secondary assist on Finland’s first goal, which came when Teemu Selanne scored on the rush 5:46 into the game to give the Finns a 1-0 lead. He also picked up a secondary assist on the final goal of the game, which was scored by defenseman Olli Maatta late in the third period that made it a 6-1 score.

“There was a bit of luck,” Lehtonen said of his assists in the game.

The only goal Lehtonen allowed came early in the third with Norway on a five-on-three power play. Per-Age Skroder scored off a blast from close range.

Lauri Korpikoski scored two goals for Finland, which had a 3-0 lead in the game by the end of the first period. Olli Jokinen and Jori Lehtera also scored.

Finland (2-0) plays Canada (2-0) on Sunday for an automatic berth to the quarterfinals.

Canada 6, Austria 0

Stars captain Jamie Benn did not factor in the scoring as Canada won its second straight game at the tournament, defeating Austria 2-0 in Group B. Jeff Carter scored three goals for Canada and Roberto Luongo stopped 23 shots for his second career Olympic shutout.

Benn played 11:31 in the game, had four shots and an even rating. He picked up four penalty minutes, which came on a double minor for high sticking in the third period. Benn played primarily on a line with John Tavares and Patrice Bergeron.

Drew Doughty, Shea Weber and Ryan Getzlaf also scored for Canada, which scored twice in the first period and four times in the second.

Sweden 1, Switzerland 0

Daniel Alfredsson’s goal with 7:21 left in the third period snapped a scoreless tie and lifted Sweden to a 1-0 victory over Switzerland. Alfredsson scored off the rebound of an Erik Karlsson shot. Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 26 shots he faced for Sweden, which improved to 2-0 in Group C. Reto Berra stopped 30 of 31 shots for the Swiss, who fell to 1-1.

Czech Republic 4, Latvia 2

Jakub Voracek’s goal at 7:06 of the second period snapped a 2-2 tie and held up as the game-winner as Czech Republic defeated Latvia 4-2 in Group C. Marek Zidlicky had a goal and an assist for the Czechs, who got goals from Jaromir Jagr and Martin Erat as well. Ondrej Pavelec got the start in goal and stopped 18 of 20 shots. Edgars Masalskis stopped 35 of 39 shots for the Latvians. Czech Republic is 1-1 and Latvia is 0-2.


*With his two assists on Friday, Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is tied for 17th in scoring at the Olympics and tied for fourth in assists.

*There’s no word yet on who will start in goal for Finland in Sunday’s game against Canada. Lehtonen said word on that should come Saturday.

*Through two games, Stars forward Jamie Benn has one goal, a plus-one rating, seven shots, four penalty minutes and is averaging 10:11 of ice time.

*Sweden announced that captain Henrik Zetterberg is out for the rest of the tournament due to injury. Zetterberg has missed 13 games this season with the Detroit Red Wings due to a herniated disk.

*Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin will be back in action Saturday when Russia takes on the United States. The game is at 6:30 a.m. Central Time and will be carried live on the NBC Sports Network. Jonathan Quick will start in goal for Team USA.

Friday’s results

Czech Republic 4, Latvia 2
Sweden 1, Switzerland 0
Finland 6, Norway 1
Canada 6, Austria 0

Saturday’s games

Slovakia vs. Slovenia, 2:00 a.m., NBC Sports Network
United States vs. Russia, 6:30 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Switzerland vs. Czech Republic, 11:00 a.m., NBC Sports Network
Sweden vs. Latvia, 11:00 a.m., USA Network

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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